We’re all likely familiar with the often stated concern that open sourced social media can potentially be dangerous for people in their pre-teen and adolescent years.
The fact is that teens have taken to social media far more than any other age group. While much of what appears on social is not inherently dangerous to anyone, a number of studies have shown that some social media content can do damage. And not just to vulnerable teens, but to adult users as well.
Social media can be especially problematic and controversial when it comes to the dissemination and sharing of information about mental health, particularly information that has not been vetted for accuracy and safety. But there are indications that providing mental health information on social media sites may be more of a good thing than bad.
According to a recent article in USA today, “TikTok is giving people a mental health education they never had before.” In fact, information, conversation and online consultation about mental health has exploded on this fast growing social media platform. In fact, the hashtag #mentalhealth has garnered more than 15 billion views. You can find that article here.
TikTok has clearly captured the attention of young people. Why? Likely because its a place where they can communicate with their peers, share, learn, love and laugh together in a community- without parents and other authority figures watching over their shoulders or listening in on their conversations.
Granted there are dark corners of the internet that are not safe places for anyone regardless of where they fall on the demographic scale. But there is a growing sense that sharing mental health information may actually be productive.
On the health site Well & Good, writer Maggie Gates posted a very personal and moving account of her experiences with BPD and with TikTok. For one, she believes that TikTok may have saved her life. “With TikTok, I can connect with a community confronting, overcoming, and living through the pain together.” You can read the full article here.
Like other content creators with credible expertise in the field, we recently opened a TikTok account (@bpdvideo) to share short videos in support of people with BPD. The clips feature leading experts in the BPD field as well as people with actual lived experience. We frankly have been amazed at the responses we have seen to those posts from thousands of people around the world.
So, despite having a reputation for frivolous, self-regarding, and at times, risque content, TikTok has shown that it can also be a safe place for people who struggle with mental health difficulties and are looking for support.
That’s definitely worthy of a thumbs up.