Being a hit on YouTube sometimes comes with a price.
The Nevada Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services has begun an inquiry into the conduct of Dr. Mark Viner, a board-certified psychiatrist who films himself posing as his satirical alter ego, "Doctor of Mind." The investigation was prompted by complaints from a Nevada resident who viewed Viner's videos.
According to KTNV News, the Division of Mental Health plans to meet with the Nevada attorney general's office this week to "determine the proper course of action." In addition to working in private practice, Viner works for the state-run Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, specializing in suicide prevention.
Reno Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie told the Las Vegas Sun she found the videos "extremely unprofessional and disappointing."
In his roughly 600 videos, which have been viewed at YouTube more than a million times, Doctor of Mind appears disheveled, his brown hair purposefully tousled. Sometimes Viner wears pajamas for his webcam broadcasts. On other occasions he is dressed in an open robe and his underwear.
Speaking in an affected monotone that many viewers may associate with mentally disturbed psychiatric patients rather than the doctors who treat them, Viner covers a range of topics in his videos. His character complains about everyday annoyances such as electronic billing, bureaucratic forms that Viner has to fill out in order to prescribe medicine and the post-earthquake situation in Haiti.
But the majority of Viner's vignettes deal with how to treat mental illness -- albeit in a rather unconventional way.
"I try to present this difficult material in an easier, creative way to understand using acting, comedy, tragedy, skits, with good intentions," Viner said in a video describing his project.
More than 2,100 people have subscribed to Doctor of Mind's YouTube Channel and have left more than 1,000 comments.
"Doc, you are the best. It is a very sensitive subject and you do a marvelous job bringing it to light," a YouTube viewer who goes by the name TheRNpsych wrote in response to one of Viner's videos.
A fan who goes by the screen name ojdidit34 chimed in, "Never change the way you deliver your message, because right now it carries truth and purpose."
Viner sells T-shirts featuring a likeness of his off-kilter character, as well as copies of the journal articles he has published over the years.
In an interview with The Las Vegas Sun, Viner said he has never been contacted by anyone in the state government about his videos, but admits that there "are probably a few questionable ones."
At present, the state of Nevada pays Viner an annual salary of $176,902, the Sun reported. It remains unclear what action, if any, the Division of Mental Health plans to take.
VIA AOL NEWS