The trash bunker that was 2020 made many of us think a lot harder about our mental health. Whether it be for entertainment, guidance, or camaraderie, people have been turning to unlikely sources for a little comfort — namely, TikTok. This is a great thing because talking about depression and anxiety on social media can alleviate stigma and provide access to a community where we don’t feel so alone. But of course, mental health TikTok is a spectrum. Some of the content is super helpful and some of it is, well, really not.
Now, before we get into which accounts are succeeding at the social media psychology game, it bears mentioning that with all viral social media there are some influencers and experts who are well equipped to talk about anxiety and depression — and then there are people who pretend to be a lot more qualified than they are. Scamfluencers are everywhere, so be wary. It’s one thing to be tricked into buying clothes that look good in pictures but like a shredded paper bag in reality, and quite another to be given faulty and misguided health advice. One helpful tip that seems obvious but isn’t is to simply google someone if they claim to be a mental health expert.
When it comes to personal accounts, I advise processing them like you would a friend’s advice (a friend who isn’t a therapist). Mental health is not one-size-fits-all — there are several different kinds of therapies out there to treat different things — so beware of anything prescriptive that appears to be for everyone. Also, several factors have been linked to mental health, including race and ethnicity, gender, age, income level, education level, sexual orientation, and geographic location. So while TikTok is a great supplement to mental health care, always personally confer with an expert — whether it’s a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist if you’re considering meds, for a mental health regimen that’s right for you.
One thing we do all need, however, is people just sharing their own unvarnished truths about what it’s like to live with mental illness of any sort. Depression and anxiety in themselves are so deeply misunderstood that watching people be honest about their battles, and sometimes even bring levity to said battle, can be deeply healing. That being said, here are, in my humble opinion, some of the best Tiktok accounts that currently speak to our mental health or help us find a little truth amidst the chaos.
This doctor is a heaven-sent when you're trying to discern the real support from the BS. He often debunks TikToks related to psychology as well as giving you information about the psychology and anxiety around vaccines, which is super necessary right now.
This British mental health professional who often focuses on keeping your happiness in check. She was actually one of the first people on TikTok to talk about mental health on the platform, which is probably why she has more than 2.6 million followers.
Racial injustice is something that every BIPOC person has to deal with every day, edit has a real physical and psychological toll. Black mental health advocates on TikTok know our struggles intrinsically, which is why this TikTok is needed, wanted, and according to his more than 713,000 subscribers, very popular.
This San Diego-based professor of psychology spends a lot of her time on TikTok debunking unfounded and problematic psychological TikToks that have gone viral on the platform. This self-described “mom, atheist, ex-Soviet refugee” has over 826,000 followers for good reason — her tendency to cut in at the most satisfying time in somebody’s incorrect statement is extremely satisfying and informative.
While this TikTok is from Dr. J, who is a licensed psychologist and therapist, my favorite part of his account is his very relatable and hilarious clips about how guilty we all feel after missing a psychiatrist appointment or otherwise not listening to mental health advice that we’ve gotten. That, in itself, is a big shot of mental health support in the form of empathy.