“We need data. All of our data. Mine and yours.” (NYT): Talkspace CEO pens op-ed supporting mining data from patients’ undeletable therapy transcripts.
Talkspace Reveals Clients’ Email, Violating Clinical Confidentiality (Forbes): “Talkspace explicitly defines itself as a “Platform.” It is a business with customers and not a healthcare provider with clients or patients. And it is as a business they promise both anonymity and confidentiality. They use the language of a clinical relationship. But that is not what Talkspace is. When Talkspace promises confidentiality it is done with all the limitations in trust inherent in any company’s marketplace promises. Talkspace defines itself and is only accountable as a business, not as a healthcare provider.”
BREAKDOWN: Inside the messy world of anonymous therapy app Talkspace (Verge): This lengthy expose discusses how mental health counselors are exploited via low pay, unpredictable pay, unmanageable hours, and being forced to violate professional ethics in service of business concerns. It also details patient rights violations: everything from leaky privacy, professionally irresponsible anonymity, predatory/bogus charges, patient abandonment, and overall failure to provide medical care while misleading patients.
YouTube’s BetterHelp mental health controversy, explained (Polygon): Not only do many YouTube’s celebrity creators have lucrative sponsorship deals with BetterHelp, YouTube itself has ties with BetterHelp and often displays ads for BetterHelp under the videos of any creator discussing mental health. Backing away from the sponsorship does mean a loss of impressive affiliate money for creators; that’s part of the issue. Most of the videos that have BetterHelp sponsorships revolve around a creator discussing their own issues. While these are valid, viewers have complained that it feels like profiteering off mental illness at best, and causing serious harm to mentally ill people at worst. (BetterHelp’s terms of service state that the company can’t guarantee a qualified professional. “We do not control the quality of the Counselor Services and we do not determine whether any Counselor is qualified to provide any specific service as well as whether a Counselor is categorized correctly or matched correctly to you.”)
Therapy app Talkspace accused of ethically questionable practices (MobiHealthNews): “The notion that the company can read the chats – and isn’t entirely clear about the circumstances in which it does – raises concerns about privacy and confidentiality and may have spurred the August HIPAA complaint by a therapist on the platform. It also threatens to undermine the trust relationship between patients and therapists. So does the notion that a therapist might be required to insert a script into a therapy session, promoting or advertising additional Talkspace services – a practice The Verge says Talkspace has engaged in.”