This is very interesting.
Since it launched into the world, TikTok has gained popularity, particularly among Gen Z.
It became known as an app where peoe uploaded short videos, including many dances.
But that’s not all it’s known for. According to The Australian, TikTokers are using the app to identify and seek help for mental disorders.
While psychologists are encouraged by the people seeking help, they strongly warn against self – diagnosis.
Common disorders that young people are seeking help for include: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourette’s syndrome and autism.
Australian Psychology Society President, Tamara Cavenett was encouraged by the trend:
There has definitely been a huge increase mental health awareness, mental health literacy, and a greater acceptance of seeking help and seeing a psychologist.
People are seeking treatment or recognising there’s a problem and seeing someone, which is hugely positive.Tamara Cavenett as told to The Australian
Some TikTok influencers don’t just raise awareness their diagnoses. They actively celebrate it. Ella Watkins is one such Australian influencer.
Watkins explained that her parents knew she was autistic. However, for years, she wasn’t evaluated:
My parents always knew that I was autistic, but growing up, they never got me evaluated because it was very stigmatised especially in Tasmania.Ella Watkins, as told to The Australian
Eventually, Watkins turned to TikTok to discover the markers before seeking an official diagnosis.
TikTok and accusations of faking illnesses
Over the years, TikTokers have created hashtag trends surrounding mental illness. These include: Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), Tourettes syndrome, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Last year, I.D Vice reported that the pandemic saw a rise in mental health issues. It also saw the rise of mental health content on social media.
In 2020, TikTok found an influx of new creators creating a #wellnesswarriors trend. TikTok also launched #WellnessHub. This allowed users to connect, discover and share health and lifestyle knowledge.
What started as a supportive community snowballed into a trend. More and more creators were accused of appropriating mental illnesses for clout.
This ‘trend’ isn’t new. In the late 1990’s Marc Feldman MD coined the term ‘Munchausen’s by Internet’.
Unfortunately, a number of creators have been attacked. Many have been accused of faking illnesses. As a result, many content creators have been bullied, and even doxxed (having personal information like addresses without consent).
People with Tourettes Syndrome have took to platforms such as Reddit to call out creators who’ve allegedly faked the disorder.
It’s important to note that the I.D. Vice casts doubt over DID as a legitimate diagnoses. Former Seattle Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist, professor and podcaster, Dr Kirk Honda has addressed DID TikTok trend. He validates
Social media will continue to be an avenue that people will seek out information. It will continue to be a means where people seek validation for personal experiences, including mental illnesses. However, it can’t be the sole source of information — especially diagnoses.
Mental health needs to be taken seriously by governments and psychological and psychiatric bodies. People of all genders need to be able to seek help, accurate diagnoses and get relevant help.