can social media docs assist an anxious technology?
While some therapists at TikTok are only aiming to open the conversation about mental health, others – like Maalouf – have used their ever-growing fan base as a business platform and opportunity to expand their customer base. “TikTok has changed my practice – people see the tips, they relate to me and then resort to therapy with me. I now have a full number of cases with a waiting list, I’ve hired a therapist and am currently working on hiring another, ”she says.
To address concerns about oversimplifying complex topics, Maalouf recently launched a podcast with psychotherapist and co-host Nadia Addesi, Anxious Like You, that discusses some of the more challenging topics in more than 60 seconds of excerpts. “We wanted to cover some of these topics in much more detail – to talk about our own struggles and to ask celebrity guests about their fears,” she explains.
Despite all the concerns, the comments on TikTok therapy videos like Smiths and Maaloufs are full of praise. “I love your energy,” reads one. “Thanks for the knowledge, it’s so helpful,” reads another.
Rachel *, 23, is a regular TikTok user and finds the videos very reliable: “When you watch a video about anxiety or family trauma, you can identify and discuss topics that you may not feel safe about elsewhere. I feel less alone. Of course, you can’t make a 60-second TikTok video the same as an hour of therapy, but I think the fact that teens and 20-year-olds are actively and openly encouraged to go into therapy is a good thing. “
Rosie Weatherley of the mental health charity Mind says, “Social media can be good for our mental health and help people feel less isolated and share their experiences with others who may be struggling with similar problems. Using online resources can also help us get more information about mental health problems, including symptoms and treatment options.
“We saw some great mental health content on TikTok – videos that are empathetic, destigmatizing, normalizing, and accessible. However, it is important to remember that not all of the information you can find online is reliable and it can be useful to ask yourself a few questions, including who is sharing it and why? Are you a reliable source and is the information current?
“If you’re looking for reliable information about mental health diagnoses and treatments, Mind has a lot of information on its website. You can also visit the NHS website or ask your GP.
“If you feel you have mental health problems, talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, or your general practitioner.”
* The name has been changed