Influencers are great for a fashion tip or a makeup tutorial, but perhaps it’s best we leave the mental health advice to the professionals. At least that’s what psychology professionals are saying. They too have seen the rise in ‘mental health influencers’ sharing info online and they’ve got a few gripes you should be aware of before you self-diagnose with the help of TikTok.
- Unverified. The #MentalHealth has been watched 9 billion times on TikTok and you don’t have to scroll far before hitting videos that aren’t based on science. For example, you have some saying casual sex is self-harm and another telling viewers that worrying about losing your phone means you have social anxiety. And it’s not like these social media platforms have fact-checkers vetting claims so it’s left to the audience to vet such claims. And who has time for that?
- Monetization. Psychologist Dr. Paul Marsden from the University of the Arts London has a bone to pick with influencers making money off sharing mental health advice. He also says there are “ethical concerns” surrounding the monetization of content about trauma and making money off other people’s problems.
The experts do seem to agree that sharing your own story is great for raising awareness for your particular diagnosis or treatment but that the goal should be to push people to seek a professional to take the next steps. Not just binge TikTok #SelfHelp videos and think they’re cured.