Mental Health Pros and Cons of TikTok

Mental Health Pros and Cons of TikTok

Mental Health Pros and Cons of TikTok

We love connecting with people on TikTok. We follow therapists and other mental health professionals. It can provide a great way to get tips, ideas, inspiration and just a break from whatever is going on in the world around us. There’s a whole world of therapytok and tiktoktherapists. However, there are mental health pros and cons of TikTok use for all ages. So, we wanted to take a look at that today.

Recent Study on Drawbacks of TikTok for People With Mental Health Challenges

This topic came up for us because of a recent University of Minnesota Study that found that people who have mental health challenges can experience great distress from using TikTok. Essentially, they found that while TikTok can foster community, it also very commonly triggers anxiety. The rabbit hole of the algorithm itself “takes them to places they may not … want to be … yet they cannot stop seeing it without a complete cessation of app use.”

It’s important to note that this study was only based on the interviews of 16 people. That’s not a large study. Therefore, it’s just a starting point. However, the hope from the study’s authors is that they will be able to do further research that allows the app to better support people with mental health challenges.

Mental Health Benefits of TikTok

As mentioned in the study, the community of support that comes together around a topic is one of the biggest mental health benefits of TikTok. Additional benefits include:

  • Quick access to grounding exercises and other self help tools.
  • Videos that simply distract, lighten, or improve your mood with funny or adorable content
  • Recommendations for resources such as good mental health books to read
  • Creating content may be a way that someone finds, develops, and honors their own voice
  • Accounts from people who openly share their mental health struggles can serve as role models and help destigmatize the topics.
  • Furthermore, it normalizes going to therapy.
  • It can offer validation for your own experience, either through responses to your content or through finding content that resonates with you.
  • It can draw attention to flaws in the mental health and medical system to raise awareness.

Mental Health Drawbacks of TikTok

Mental Health Drawbacks of TikTok

Obviously, the study points to the fact that there are drawbacks of TikTok for mental health. In particular, people who already live with mental health challenges can find the app to be addictive/compulsive, triggering or reinforcing of negative thoughts. Other mental health drawbacks of TikTok include:

  • Issues related to comparison / perfectionism common across many social media platforms. This can negatively impact self-esteem, exacerbate eating disorders, etc.
  • Overstimulation, sensory overload … this can affect anxiety levels, disturb sleep hygiene, etc.
  • Potential for cyberbullying, trolls, negative feedback, etc.
  • It’s been found to increase isolation and loneliness among children and teens.
  • Potential to get bad advice, unhelpful information, incorrect resources, etc. It can lead people to self-diagnose in ways that aren’t helpful can can be harmful. TikTok can’t be your therapist because it doesn’t know you personally.

Want to connect with a human therapist? We would love to hear from you to collaborate on finding the right therapist to meet your needs.

Mental Health Drawbacks of TikTok

TikTok Vs. Other Social Media Platforms

Most of what we shared above is true of other social media platforms as well. What makes TikTok unique from sites like Facebook and Instagram? Here are a few key things to note:

  • The algorithm is different. Because it is based on your interests, it can more easily take you down a rabbit hole than even what we see with the other social media platforms. This can cause you to spiral through negative triggers.
  • The user base skews younger. Therefore, more impressionable ages might be accessing mental health content. There are pros and cons to this. They can get great information and help. However, they also might get led astray and not get the real help that they need.
  • It is all video content. This is much more immersive and intense than reading an article or even looking at a still image. While other platforms increasingly incorporate video content (Instagram and Facebook reels for example), it remains interspersed with other types of content.
  • TikTok’s data collection practices and privacy concerns have been a source of controversy, which can contribute to feelings of mistrust and anxiety among users. This may or may not be true of other social media platforms in the same way.
  • Overall, TikTok has a unique culture that emphasizes positivity, inclusivity, and diversity. This can be a refreshing change from other social media platforms such as Twitter that trend towards negativity.

Further Reading

Of course, you can also connect with us on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook.