FULL DISCLAIMER: Any youtuber mentioned in this article, it is just for context…
If this story goes mainstream, it will have a noticeable negative impact on YouTubers. What am I talking about? BetterHelp
You have already heard about BetterHelp from your favorite YouTuber. There is a list of over a hundred YouTubers who have promoted this website. It has been all over my own subreddit, too: “try online therapy”. It has been marketed as cheap, affordable and private online therapy with a professional.
I discussed BetterHelp in a previous video when I first heard about it. I was cautious about calling it a scam, because I had seen not just YouTubers, but actual therapists chilling this service incredibly good.
So, what is wrong with BetterHelp? You can have online therapy without leaving your house! Sounds almost too good to be true… and it is true. They have attempted to mass-produce therapy (they pride on having 4 million users) and they have gathered these many users by saying that if you sign up, you’ll pay only $65 (whereas if you go to an actual therapist and meet face-to-face, you’ll be paying $250 dollars). However, in their own terms of service, they acknowledge that, if you are using this site, it is not a complete substitute for face-to-face examination and for a session by a licensed qualified professional.
In addition, when you subscribe to better health, let’s say you pick the most popular one $65 per week, but you are billed monthly so, when the 7-day trial runs out, you are immediately charged $260. BetterHelp answers to how long will I use his service? with just as long as you need it, you can cancel the subscription of the service at any time. Now, I have seen comments saying that if you contact them, they will pay you back, so, if you lost money signing up for this, do reach out BetterHelp.
Even more, they also say that they’ll find you an online therapist who fits you by just doing a quick questionnaire. However, in their Terms of Service they say:
We cannot assess whether the use of the counsellor is right and suitable for your needs (…)
BetterHelp affirms that they give no warranty for their willingness to give advice. They make no warranty whether what they say is even relevant, useful, correct, relevant (again), satisfactory or suitable to your needs. To sum up, they don’t take responsibility for anything. How convenient!
On review sites, you can find that BetterHelp has 69% positive and 21% negative opinions. However, this means that if someone says that BetterHelp really work for them, that is just because they had a good therapist, not because BetterHelp provided a good service. Not taking accountability for any of their counselors leads to a lot of people having bad experiences. Now, I can’t vouch that these reviews are legit, obviously, but, if you want to make that argument, neither of the good reviews are legit either.
It just came to my attention that I miss a portion of the Terms of Service. This one is deeply concerning and I missed it because they deleted it just a few days ago! How convenient! It says that they don’t guarantee the verification of the skills, degrees, qualifications, certification, credentials, competence or background of any counselor. You will be talking to professionals, but just beware that it’s your responsibility to determine whether they are or not…
The cherry on the top here is that, in their Terms of Service, they can share your data and anything talking about mental health related…
This is some of the reasons that I found out that BetterHelp is not what they are saying it is. There’s a lot of more information and a lot of more crazy things that I don’t want to bring up, but there is a lot of suspicious activity.
This whole thing gets the most messed up in the marketing. When I first heard about better help I was immediately skeptical, because I’ve been approached by a similar app a year ago and a few selected people told me that that app was not what they are saying it is. Luckily, the app didn’t cost any money and, luckily, I didn’t take the money for the promo. I recognized that it was a bad idea taking money for a mental health issue. How so many YouTubers failed to recognize this, it’s just beyond me. The problem is that they are paid per person that signs up to BetterHealth, and not just a little money. It has been confirmed that YouTubers have been paid $200 per person. Obviously, you’re highly incentivized to tell people to sign up for this service.
To be fair, I don’t think these YouTubers know what they’re promoting. Even more, on the paper it sounds like a great thing: if you can help people and get paid at the same time, what’s wrong with that? I don’t think everyone is completely innocent, but I don’t think there’s any point in faulting anyone. Recently, there’s been a big topic on YouTube about mental health: “YouTubers fighting mental health stigma”, “YouTube is failing its creators” and “YouTubers are feeling burned out”. I talked about this topic, because I don’t want people chasing phantom dragons and I don’t want people to think that they win by acquiring wealth and fame.
If a service like better health existed, they should take accountability for their counselors actions. It should be in their best interest to make sure that everyone that signs up gets a good service. However, in their Terms of Service they say that they don’t and this is obviously because their mass producing.
I was slammed by mainstream media a few months ago for (guess the controversy) I shared Amazon referral links in my descriptions. I mean, you can’t just treat your fans like dollar signs, what kind of person would do that? It’s disgusting and I don’t understand why anyone would do that. I treat my fans with respect and I would never sell them anything ever…