A lot of psychiatrists recommend coping with trauma through sharing experiences in a comfortable setting where the person feels safe. Ignacio Civeira, a child at the behavioral addictions unit of Gregorio Marañón Hospital claims that this way of expressing emotions is the most therapeutic. Ever since the pandemic arose TikTok has become a way for people to talk about different traumas and anxieties.
What makes this different from a normal visit to a psychiatrist is that these influencers set the tone and everyone has their format. Some people are saying that TikTok can serve as a helpful alternative for young people.
Others are focused on the risks. Children are easily influenced by the things that they see on social media. With that being said younger audiences might change behaviors or self-diagnose themselves based on what they see online.
Rocio Romero is a social media influencer who has 400,000 followers on Instagram. She does not typically make videos on mental health issues but she made a video a few years ago talking about an eating disorder that she went through at a young age. She encouraged questions on her video and ended up receiving around 1000 emails from her followers. There were not only questions but personal experiences too. That is when she realized that she was not properly equipped to handle it all.
She did not want to leave the subject alone so she created Caliope which is an audio app focused on well-being. It has therapists and influences who answer questions for people that need answers.
Ana Belén Medialdea is a psychiatrist and influencer with about 41,000 followers on Instagram. She has had many clients who discover her through her social media. She claims that she once had a client that self-identified herself with fatphobia. She was able to have a discussion with her about warnings to look out for and to provide guidance.
Sara Sarmiento is another influencer and psychologist who has over 2 million likes on her page. She says that she sees many patients who have been misled and confused because of the different things they see online. Sarmiento says that these children are just starting to develop their personalities and shouldn’t be influenced by the things they see. The disorder that they think they are enduring is mostly a natural process and is completely normal. It can be dangerous to self-identify with these disorders and change behaviors without consulting a professional, Sarmiento exclaims.
There was also another case involving a TikToker by the name of Rubén Avilés. He is 24 and has over 11 million likes on his page. He is mostly known for his LGBTQ activism. One day he decided to post a video talking about his personal experiences with anorexia. He said that he was the school outcast because of his sexuality, weight, and an eating disorder.
Avilés claims that he does not like to talk about his personal life and was even a little scared to talk about the trauma he went through. He said that the aftermath of the video led to many others expressing their own experiences. Many people from TikTok wanted advice on what to do concerning their own situation. Avilés made it clear that he is not a professional and had no idea how to respond.
Although he did not know what to say initially a few of the messages moved him to give good genuine advice and words of encouragement to his followers.
Social media can be a place to express anything you want. The biggest factor that’s needed to keep into consideration is that you do not believe everything you see.
Written by Esteban Ruiz
El Pais: The dangers of TikTok mental health advice
Desert News: Investigation: Does TikTok have a bad effect on kids’ mental health?
New York Post: How TikTok has become a dangerous breeding ground for mental disorders