The Stream

How is TikTok changing the way we talk about mental health?

On Wednesday, February 8 at 19:30 GMT:
Social media has played a transformative role in raising awareness and destigmatising conversations about mental health. But could talking about mental health problems online actually be making our mental health worse?

Health professionals say viral videos about ADHD, depression and bipolar disorder are generating millions of views on TikTok. But much of this online content can contain inaccurate, confusing and potentially harmful misinformation about mental health.

The growth of “therapy TikTok” has attracted professional therapists and psychiatrists to use the platform to advocate for mental health awareness. But some are concerned by the trend of influencers without medical credentials who are posting about their own symptoms of mental health conditions. Such content could lead people to self-diagnose, delay seeking professional care, or worse, expose them to companies selling questionable treatments.

During the pandemic, many turned to online spaces – TikTok in particular – for support and information about mental health. In 2020, social media mentions of “mental health” jumped 80.53% from 2019, according to research by the influencer marketing company Captiv8.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll talk to health professionals about the benefits and downsides of consuming mental health content online.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Dr. Han Ren,
Clinical and school psychologist

Dr. Ashvin Sood

Stephanie Miodus, @StephanieMiodus
Doctoral candidate in school psychology, Temple University