TikTok Rolls Out Mental Health Awareness Month Campaign Amid Growing Teen Safety Concerns

TikTok Rolls Out Mental Health Awareness Month Campaign Amid Growing Teen Safety Concerns

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: May 16, 2023

TikTok is rolling out a new Mental Health Awareness Month campaign aimed at “promoting positive mental well-being, combating stigma, and providing support to our community.” 

In a press release, the social media app announced plans to launch a Mental Health Media Education Fund, donating more than $2 million worth of ad credits to organizations such as the Alliance for Eating Disorders, Made of Millions, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Crisis Text Line, and more.  

Additionally, TikTok will also host training sessions for its partners to help them in sharing information with their communities.  

“This collaboration represents just one part of our continued efforts to advocate for positive mental health and reach people in need of support, and we're grateful that nonprofits and advocacy groups choose TikTok as a platform to share their knowledge and to reach a wide audience,” the company wrote.  

The mobile app company is also rolling out a #MentalHealthAwarenesshub where users can easily find updated educational and inspiring videos from mental health advocates and organizations championing the cause.  

In line with this, the video streaming platform will be spotlighting 10 different content creators that use the app to educate the community, including Mindfulness Coach Joel Kross, psychotherapist Dr. Kojo Sarfo, and many more.  

TikTok Pushes Content Surrounding Anxiety and Suicide 

While it celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month, TikTok’s new campaign, may be the company’s way of responding to backlash it received surrounding user safety. Last month, the social media app was slammed for pushing content promoting suicide and misogynistic views to teenagers.  

A study by the corporate accountability group Ekō revealed that it only takes 10 minutes before the app’s algorithm will suggest harmful and extreme content to underaged users.  

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One of the videos shown in their test accounts included a now-deleted video of Jake Gyllenhaal in the film Jarhead, where he points a rifle to his mouth and asks a comrade to shoot him in the face. The post was accompanied with the caption: “Get shot or see her with someone else?”  

“The algorithm forces you into a spiral of depression, hopelessness, and self-harm, and it’s terribly difficult to get out of that spiral once the algorithm thinks it knows what you want to see. And it’s extremely alarming to see how easy it is for children to fall into this spiral,” Ekō campaigner and co-author Maen Hammad said in a statement.  

The social media app has since reinstated its efforts in fighting harmful content, adding features that help users – especially those underaged – explore TikTok safely.  

These features include redirecting searches like #eatingdisorders and #suicide to support resources and helplines, using keywords to change their feeds to avoid triggering content, and pushing the daily limit for users under the age of 18 to one hour.  

What do you think about TikTok’s Mental Health Awareness Campaign? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter and LinkedIn!

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