With a U.S. ban of TikTok looming, the company is introducing a new mental health awareness hub to allow users to learn about well-being topics, connect with advocates and support organizations that provide important resources. To access the new hub, users have to go to the #MentalHealthAwareness hashtag page and tap on the link in the description.
The hub will be updated throughout May to highlight new educational videos, mental health and wellness-centered creators and organizations dedicated to raising awareness about mental health.
TikTok is also donating over $2 million in ad credits to organizations working on supporting mental well-being, including Alliance for Eating Disorders, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Crisis Text Line, Made of Millions, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Eating Disorders Association and Peer Health Exchange.
In addition, TikTok is going to host a series of training sessions to equip its partners with the tools they need to share information with their communities during critical moments, such as World Mental Health Day in October or back-to-school season.
“Through continued collaboration with mental health organizations, content creators, and our TikTok community, we continue to raise awareness and foster a space where everyone can feel heard and supported — during #MentalHealthAwareness Month and beyond,” TikTok wrote in a blog post. “We believe that everyone deserves access to resources and support for their mental well-being, and we are dedicated to continuously learning, evolving, and making a difference.”
TikTok will also be spotlighting 10 creators who use its platform to educate the community on mental heath awareness, including @asoulcalledjoel, @dr.kojosarfo, @elainaefird, @elysemyers, @joelbervell, @lindsay.fleminglpc, @nutritionbykylie, @thepsychodoctormd, @therapyjeff and @victoriabrowne.
Over the past few years, TikTok has faced scrutiny regarding the app’s impact on its youngest users. It’s been more than a year since executives from social media platforms, including TikTok, faced questions from lawmakers during congressional hearings over how their platforms can negatively impact young users. Experts have also expressed concern about how TikTok could add to the mental health crisis among U.S. teens.
TikTok’s new mental health awareness initiatives come as the The American Psychological Association (APA) issued its first-ever health advisory on social media last week, addressing mounting concerns about how social networks designed for adults can negatively impact adolescents.
The APA’s recommendations center on the role of parents, but the advisory does denounce algorithms that push young users toward potentially damaging content, including posts that promote self harm, disordered eating, racism and other forms of online hate. The APA recommends that parents remain vigilant to prevent social media from interrupting sleep routines and physical activity — two areas that directly and seriously impact kids’ mental health outcomes.