The Truth About Tiktok and Mental Health
Girls' Life magazine|February/March 2022
When should you trust your FYP? We’re breaking down swiping up.
By Katherine Hammer, Photography by Carol Yepes/Getty Images

A year ago, Chloe R.’s TikTok homepage was filled with content clearly chosen for her by the algorithm: biology homework hacks, three-minute yoga tutorials and vegan Valentine’s baking how-to’s.

But after struggling with her mental health during the pandemic, the 16-year-old’s FYP now features fewer tree poses and more tips on things like navigating toxic relationships and how to be less socially awkward.

And she’s not the only one scrolling through mental health content on the social media platform. In a digital world where emotional well-being is a priority among teens, TikTok has become a seemingly safe space to share just about everything.

Just check out the #mentalhealth and #therapistsoftiktok hashtags (which have billions of views combined) for vids showing everything from what it’s like to live with OCD to depression confessions.

Even celebs have shared their own innermost thoughts: The usually upbeat Lizzo recently posted a tearful TikTok where she questioned, “You know that part of sadness when you feel…nobody cares about you? Why do we feel this way when we get sad?” (She later shared that she was feeling better, had spoken to her therapist and that the 48,000 comments made her feel seen and heard.)

But is TikTok also ~the drama~? Maybe. As relatable as the content you watch may be, it can also be misleading—and even create more problems instead of solving them.

“Sometimes the content is relatable because it can apply to almost anyone,” explains therapist Courtney Conley. “If you’re not feeling great to begin with, it can perpetuate a feeling that something’s wrong with you—even when you’re just experiencing normal moodiness or temporary sadness.”

When you open the app and start scrolling on a tough day, remember these mental health TikTok truths— so you can actually enjoy your feed without messing with your mind.

• THE TRUTH •

TIKTOK CAN MAKE YOU FEEL VALIDATED.

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