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  • MaryGrace Lerin

TikTok Expands Mental Health Resources to Provide More Ways to Assist and Support

TikTok has unveiled a new set of resources aimed at assisting users who are dealing with mental health issues such as eating disorders, self-harm, and suicide. To begin with, the platform is expanding its well-being guides to better support individuals who choose to share their personal stories on the platform.

According to TikTok:

“While we don’t allow content that promotes, glorifies or normalizes suicide, self-harm or eating disorders, we do support people who choose to share their experiences to raise awareness, and help others who might be struggling and find support among our community. To better facilitate such, we’ve developed new well-being guides to support people who choose to share their personal experiences, with the guidance of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, Crisis Text Line, Live For Tomorrow, Samaritans of Singapore and Samaritans (UK).”

The new guides, which are readily accessible in TikTok's Safety Center, provide advice on how to effectively convey one's experiences as well as how to interact properly with others who are struggling or distressed.

In furthermore, TikTok is showcasing a new set of curated material from its partner organizations in-app, which provides more information on crucial well-being issues up front. Currently, the new program is live and will run until 16th of September. TikTok is also increasing its in-search hints for eating disorder-related inquiries, which will assist users in finding expert support tools and services.

“We’ve added a new Safety Center guide on eating disorders for teens, caregivers, and educators. Developed in consultation with independent experts including the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), National Eating Disorder Information Centre, Butterfly Foundation, and Bodywhys, this guide will provide information, support and advice on eating disorders.”

TikTok is also introducing similar search results for suicide and self-harm, with connections to local support services and solutions.

Finally, TikTok's sensitive material warning labels have been updated.

“Beginning in September, when a user searches for terms that may bring up content that some may find distressing, for example ‘scary make-up’, the search results page will be covered with an opt-in viewing screen. Individuals will be able to click 'Show results' to continue to see the content.

These opt-in viewing displays already show on top of videos that some viewers might find disturbing or frightening, and this type of content is also ineligible for inclusion in anyone's For You feed.

Over the last few years, TikTok has gained a lot of momentum among younger audiences, and it continues to grow. As a result, the platform owes it to these more receptive users to safeguard them where it can, shielding them from damage while also giving support.

On this front, TikTok has faced a number of difficulties. The app was temporarily banned in Italy last year when a young girl died while partaking in an in-app challenge, and TikTok has also been condemned for exploiting young girls, with its highly tuned algorithms seemingly matched to personal features and material that may attract predators.

The visual nature of TikTok, like Instagram, may easily lead to mental health issues, and as a result, TikTok has to provide as much help as possible to individuals in need, including more resources, in-app tools, and community connections.

There's no way to fully solve such concerns, but it's encouraging to see TikTok continue to develop new tools in this area.

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