In honor of World Suicide Prevention Month, TikTok is boosting efforts to safeguard its users’ mental wellbeing. As people choose to express themselves to their circles on the platform, conversation around recovery from self harm and other mental health issues is growing. Building on the support shown by users, TikTok is stepping up its resources, search interventions and access to expert provided guidance, across important mental health subject areas.
Farah Tukan, Public Policy Manager METAP at TikTok said,
“It is inspiring to see our users come together to support one another and drive forward the conversation around mental wellbeing with such positivity and vigor. Our policies have always aimed to prioritize people who may be struggling and we currently provide access to expert emotional help from global leaders in the field, alongside approved government resources. This is a continuously evolving process, and we will build on our existing array of wellbeing guides wherever possible, through insightful, verified information. We aim to stay creative in our efforts when caring for our community, and maintain the safe space offered by TikTok for this important conversation.”
As a platform, TikTok’s strict Community Guidelines do not allow content that promotes, glorifies or normalizes suicide, self-harm or eating disorders. In addition to this, TikTok has unveiled additional steps to make it easier for people to feel safe and find support, including:
Adjusting search Interventions
When searching keywords related to self harm and suicide, in addition to being directed to a local helpline, users will now be able to view supportive and educational content, linking to further resources and information about treatment options.
Creating additional resources
New well-being guides, developed with mental health experts such as the International Association for Suicide Prevention, are available on the platform’s Safety Centre. The guides provide the community with tips on engaging with users who may be struggling or are in distress. These will also guide users on how best to safely share their recovery journey and raise awareness of key mental health issues
Dedicated guide on eating disorders
Expanding on features rolled out earlier this year, supporting users affected by eating disorders, a dedicated guide has been developed alongside the National Eating Disorders Association, National Eating Disorder Information Centre, Butterfly Foundation, and Bodywhy. Now live on the Safety Centre, it provides support and advice on eating disorders to teenagers, caregivers, and educators. Taking the initiative a step further are the permanent public service announcements (PSAs) on certain hashtags such as #whatIeatinaday, to increase awareness and provide support to the community.
Stronger content warnings
Updated labels for potentially upsetting content have been rolled out, masking search results with a warning layer. This additional step will require users to select ‘Show results’ to continue to see content.
TikTok creators and safety experts have come together to share inspirational stories about dealing with mental ill-health, offering users an authentic, honest perspective on the discussion. This content will also reiterate where to seek support and offer advice on how to talk to loved ones about mental health issues.
A week of awareness
Set to take place in September, the platform will drive conversation through activities centred around mental health. This time will highlight content created by community members and experts, and will sign-post available resources to further support users. These videos will show up amongst results when searching for relevant terms, giving the community the chance to opt-in to view this content.
The developments follow the platform’s recent drive to promote safety of teens, including improvements to DMs, notifications, watch and download settings. Boosting supportive self care focused content also aligns with wider community collaborations with regional partners such as UNHCR, with whom TikTok launched the #everygiftcounts challenge, raising funds during Ramadan to aid displaced refugee communities. TikTok has also worked with UNICEF MENA last year to encourage users to keep their masks on and dispose of them correctly, giving rise to a safer environment for all. Through working closely with identified safety experts, creators and the community, TikTok will continue its efforts to offer a safe space for people to talk about mental health and support each other.
For further information and access to the guides on TikTok, visit the Safety Center.
Note: The guides and resources shared on the TIkTok platform are purely for informational purposes and are not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice.