TikTok is stuffed with psychological well being recommendation – this is why you need to be cautious

TikTok is an incredibly popular app. What started as a fun videos and dance challenges service quickly turned into a space where people could discuss all sorts of topics, including mental health. Whether they are sharing personal stories about depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder or giving advice to their many followers, many TikTok users have earned thousands of followers for their helpful content. Even doctors and health professionals have developed a TikTok presence that delivers vital information in small, digestible clips.

With so much discussion about mental health, it is difficult to tell the good from the bad. It is also inevitable that some of these content makers will give some form of loose therapy to their followers without the required training. TikTok’s format doesn’t help this problem as it limits the number of characters per post and the number of videos to 60 seconds.

Photo by Solen Feyissa via Unsplash

One of the problems with TikTok is the large number of users. If a doctor doesn’t wear a scrub, there is no easy way to tell them apart from other users who may not have the skills necessary to address complex mental health problems. Users can state their personal symptoms as facts, with millions of viewers believing whatever they are watching.

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In an interview with Mashable, Dr. Inna Kanevsky that the developers of TikTok tend to refer to science and studies in general, and repeated claims that sound tempting but may not have the research and support necessary to be clearly stated. Kanevsky has become popular on TikTok by creating videos that expose the content of other TikTokers.

@ dr_inna # stitch with @maxklymenko I personally like Max. He’s from my hometown. But the claim that “science says” has to stop. ♬ Original sound – Inna Kanevsky, Ph.D. (she / she)

“They are basically spreading their point of view, which is not empirically supported, which is essentially pseudoscientific. It’s not necessarily the best treatment or the best people to listen to. But they are popular and positive and attractive. And that could prevent people from seeking real help, ”she said.

Thea Gallagher PsyD spoke to Psycom about a video in which a woman shared her experience with OCD.

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“I think she did a good job showing how tedious some of these rituals can be,” said Gallagher. “If someone watches this and says, ‘Oh my god, this is a real problem that I can seek help for so that other people can also struggle,’ it can help normalize the condition.”

But according to Kanevsky, there is one caveat: “I don’t want people to see this video and assume that every OCD person is like that or that it will be like that forever. I want people to know that these are treatable problems and that there are many effective evidence-based treatments for OCD, anxiety, and depression. “

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Mental health is an expensive and complicated area that professionals must study for years before they can advise clients. While mental health should be accessible to every person who needs it, the presence of TikTok coping mechanisms and pseudoscience could discourage people from getting the help they need and encourage them to believe these things and get them spread.

While it’s amazing that people now have a place where they can express themselves openly and find content that makes them feel like they’re being seen, finding some sort of filter is important. TikTok users, especially those looking for mental health content, should be careful about the information they consume. TikTok makes it easy to spread misinformation. It is therefore up to the viewer to research to find content that is fact based and enjoyable.

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