With an impending US ban on TikTok, the company is introducing a new mental health awareness center to allow users to learn more about wellness topics, connect with advocates, and support organizations that provide important resources. To access the new hub, users need to go to the #MentalHealthAwareness hashtag page and tap the link in the description.
The hub will be updated in May to showcase new educational videos, mental health and wellness-focused creators, and organizations dedicated to raising mental health awareness.
TikTok also donates more than $2 million in ad credits to organizations working to support mental wellness, including Alliance for Eating Disorders, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Crisis Text Line, Made of Millions, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Eating Disorders Association and Peer Health Exchange.
In addition, TikTok will host a series of training sessions to equip its partners with the tools they need to share information with their communities during critical moments, such as World Mental Health Day in October or the back-to-school season.
“Through continued collaboration with mental health organizations, content creators and our TikTok community, we continue to raise awareness and create a space where everyone can feel heard and supported — during #MentalHealthAwareness Month and beyond,” TikTok wrote in a blog post . “We believe everyone deserves access to resources and support for their mental well-being, and we are committed to continuous learning, evolving and making a difference.”
TikTok will also spotlight 10 creators who use the platform to educate the community about mental health awareness, including @asoulcalledjoel, @dr.kojosarfo, @elainaefird, @elysemyers, @joelbervell, @lindsay.fleminglpc, @nutritionbykylie, @thepsychodoctormd, @therapiejeff and @victoriabrowne.
In recent years, TikTok has come under scrutiny regarding the app’s impact on its youngest users. It’s been more than a year since executives of social media platforms, including TikTok, faced questions from lawmakers during congressional hearings about how their platforms could negatively impact young users. Experts have also expressed concern about how TikTok could be contributing to the mental health crisis among American teens.
TikTok’s new mental health awareness initiatives come as the American Psychological Association (APA) released its first-ever health advisory on social media last week, addressing growing concerns about how social networks designed for adults are creating a negative can affect adolescents.
The APA’s recommendations focus on the role of parents, but the advisory denounces algorithms that push young users towards potentially harmful content, including posts that promote self-harm, disorderly eating, racism and other forms of online hate. The APA recommends that parents remain vigilant to prevent social media from interrupting sleep routines and physical activity — two areas that have a direct and serious impact on children’s mental health outcomes.