✎ Written by: Dubravka Rebic
Back in the day, many people thought of TikTok as an app for teenagers doing various dance trends, but that perception has swiftly shifted, allowing us to recognize that there’s much more to this app than we realized.
Boasting 1.05 billion active users, TikTok has fast become one of the most popular social media platforms today. It offers people space for creative expression, and if we zoom in on mental health, the platform hosts a large community that’s sincerely discussing their challenges while also gathering licensed therapists that make people feel supported and less alone in their struggles.
In this article, we’ll introduce four accounts from mental health professionals who made a name for themselves on TikTok, sharing educational videos that are definitely worth watching.
It’s important to note that TikTok content will never replace therapy, but you can still benefit from the knowledge these licensed professionals share on social media for mental health awareness purposes.
Follower count (as of May 2023): 1.1 million (@micheline.maalouf)
Subjects covered: Trauma, anxiety, PTSD, boundaries, people-pleasing
Micheline Maalouf is a licensed therapist who specializes in anxiety and trauma. She covers a variety of different mental health topics and focuses on a different one each month by offering handy therapy hacks you can do at home, from clever tools for stopping nail biting to activating the vagus nerve for reducing anxiety.
Some of our favorite Micheline Maalouf TikTok posts are:
If deep breathing makes you more anxious: Maalouf shows three things you can do to ease anxiety if you don’t feel comfortable with deep breathing exercises.
Trauma is relative: In this video, Maalouf answers how it is possible for siblings who grew up in the same home to have a different level of resiliency.
Follower count (as of May 2023): 4.5 million (@drjuliesmith)
Subjects covered: Stress, burnout, grief, relationships, anxiety, depression, loneliness.
Dr. Julie Smith is a clinical psychologist, a former NHS therapist, a book author, a mother of three, and a full-time therapist filming TikTok videos from her Hampshire home.
The advice she shares on her account is clear, actionable, and engaging. In fact, the educational aspect is so empowering that it gives viewers the actionable content needed to learn methods that can help with managing their wellbeing.
Some of our favorite Dr. Julie Smith videos are:
5 things someone with depression wants you to know: This video can help you to better support loved ones who struggle with depression.
Tips on how to build your self-confidence: Three simple tips that may inspire you to start working on building your self-confidence right now.
Follower count (as of May 2023): 1.1 million (@nadiaaddesi)
Subjects covered: Depression, anxiety, social anxiety, toxic family, childhood trauma, relationships, procrastination
Social worker and psychotherapist Nadia Addesi uses TikTok to teach young people how to boost confidence and use social media in healthy ways.
She also provides quick tips and tricks based on research evidence or her own personal experiences in order to help others feel less alone and more capable of working through their mental health struggles.
Some of our favorite Nadia Addesi videos are:
Procrastination 101: According to Addesi, being able to understand the core reason why procrastination happens in the first place might be the first step to overcoming it.
Maladaptive daydreaming: Intense fantasies might not be good for us. In this video, Addesi explains why.
4. Dr. Courtney
Follower count (as of May 2023): 1.8 million (@the.truth.doctor)
Subjects covered: Addiction, mental health, depression, therapy
As a licensed clinical social worker and doctor of clinical psychology, Dr. Courtney Tracy has over 12 years of education and an audience of almost 2 million under her belt.
On TikTok, she tells personal stories combined with therapeutic anecdotes, mostly reparenting, trauma, and anxiety content, which combines things she’s learned in her personal life and her education as a licensed clinical social worker and doctor of clinical psychology.
Some of our favorite Dr. Courtney videos are:
Less obvious signs of a panic attack: A panic attack is not always easy to spot. In the video, Dr. Courtney shows us the less obvious signs we should look out for.
Supplements that may help alleviate anxiety symptoms: Some supplements Dr. Courtney regularly takes as a doctor with diagnosed anxiety and OCD.
Signs of social anxiety: In this video, Dr. Courtney showcases unusual signs of social anxiety that perhaps weren’t on our radar.
People of all ages use TikTok to connect with others, lift their spirits, and learn something new. And while this social media platform will never replace therapy, it allows mental health professionals to reach a much wider audience and normalize talking about mental health concerns.
When engaging with this type of content, make sure to check the creator’s qualifications to see if they’re licensed mental health professionals. Even then, don’t take everything you see at face value; try to seek out different sources when researching a topic, such as books and studies.
Most importantly, if you find that your struggles are affecting your everyday life, don’t hesitate to seek out professional help. As the bios of many therapists across TikTok will remind you: TikTok doesn't involve individualized care and therefore is not therapy.
That said, you can always use content made by licensed professionals as an additional tool to learn something new and improve your wellbeing, but it shouldn’t be a stand-alone solution. Scroll mindfully!
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About the author:
Dubravka Rebic puts a lot of time and energy into researching and writing in order to help create awareness and positive change in the mental health space. From poring over scientific studies to reading entire books in order to write a single content piece, she puts in the hard work to ensure her content is of the highest quality and provides maximum value.
Pretorius C, McCashin D, Coyle D. Mental health professionals as influencers on TikTok and Instagram: What role do they play in mental health literacy and help-seeking? Internet Interv. 2022 Nov 18;30:100591. doi: 10.1016/j.invent.2022.100591. PMID: 36458161; PMCID: PMC9706523.