The last few years have seen mental health issues take a more prominent place within public discourse, with several celebrities and public figures advocating for the destigmatisation of disorders such as anxiety and depression.
The pandemic fuelled this upward trend, putting a spotlight on the shared mental health struggles of countless individuals. Online platforms like TikTok have played a key role in helping mental health activists convey their messages and raise awareness around these pertinent issues with the hashtag #mentalhealth sitting at nearly 50 billion views and #Selfcare sitting at 28 billion views in-app.
In collaboration with creators from around the world and its global community, TikTok introduces “Mental Well-Being Comes First,” a global campaign to bring awareness of the importance of mental well-being, allow understanding of mental wellness and empower communities to break the stigmas around talking about mental well-being.
Ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, TikTok has rolled out a digital wellbeing programme, supported by freely available resources and in-app tools. These initiatives are pivotal in furthering TikTok’s aims to be at the heart of these important conversations and to facilitate safe spaces for users to talk about and engage with mental health issues.
Commenting on this is Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Head of Public Policy & Government Relations at TikTok in Africa, who explains that: “as the world’s digital destination for community-driven entertainment, TikTok is about inspiring creativity and bringing joy. The mental wellbeing of our users is therefore of high priority. We will continue to use survey-based data and insights to inform our policies and product development in a way that normalises conversations around mental wellbeing and encourages principles like self-acceptance and self-care.”
TikTok’s commitment to fostering a kinder, more inclusive online environment has inspired the development of features such as Screen Time Management and Restricted Mode, which gives users more control over how they use the platform. A comprehensive Privacy and Safety setting allows users to decide who can follow them and send them direct messages or reactions in order to avoid unwanted solicitation.
Over the next month, TikTok will run an initiative aimed at bringing mental health to the forefront of online conversation and to inform, empower and inspire its users.
TikTok community continues to be inspired by creators and partners around the world who create and share content that supports those who may be struggling with their own mental well-being. Here are some Kenyan creators championing the conversation:
Protecting mental health
Azziad – The queen of positive vibes is calling out users on the digital platform to guard their mental well-being. From special TikTok features, tools and personal experience tips, Azziad opens a world that promotes practices of overcoming negative self-talk to manage stress. Here is a piece of advice: https://www.tiktok.com/@azz_iad/video/7148858369535724806
SimonSaysKe helps us understand how behaviour influences mental well-being through hosting candid conversations. With diverse content and topics, this content creator demonstrates the importance of learning how to effectively handle each other to help manage emotions and reduce self-harm. Here is a sample video: https://www.tiktok.com/@simonsayske/video/7147279903883365637
Dr_vundiwellness unpacks diverse content to help the community understand all facets of mental health. Her content provides an overview of toxic environments, addictions, signs of abuse, tips on therapies, coping with survivors, challenges in convincing people to visit a rehab or therapy center, and opens up the topic of lack of therapy insurance.
Check out her tip here: https://www.tiktok.com/@dr_vundiwellness/video/7124273213894364422
The following TikTok Live discussion will take place during this period:
- Date: 10 October
- Time: 6 pm WAT / 7 pm CAT / 8 pm EAT
- TikTok Creator Account: @Azz_iad feat. @mentallyawareng
As Mgwili-Sibanda concludes: “our goal over the next few weeks and beyond is to empower and support creators by providing a digital space for them to ask questions, raise concerns and seek advice. Peer support is an integral part of community building on TikTok as well as promoting equal access to information and resources about mental wellbeing. We encourage the TikTok community and broader online platform users to participate in the upcoming events and forums.”