At TikTok we like to celebrate the moments that spark joy within our global community. Sometimes this joy comes from therapeutic or heartwarming content, such as guided meditations or family yoga videos. And at other times, this happiness stems from the realization that you are not alone because others share and empathize with the feelings and challenges you're going through. We want our platform to continue to be a place where people feel safe and welcome—no matter where they are on their journeys.
We recognize that everyone one has a unique and personal experience with mental health. To improve our understanding of our community's feelings and mental health journeys, we conducted a global survey in partnership with market research firm YouGov. The goal of our research was to explore cross-generational attitudes toward well-being, including their comfort levels in talking about these issues with families, friends, and others. We were encouraged to find that nearly 9 in 10 believe their mental well-being is either as important or more important than their physical well-being, affirming our commitment to cultivating a safe and supportive environment for our community to share their mental health journeys.
We also sought to learn about the support people want when choosing to share their experience online and how our community chooses to discuss difficult topics and struggles. Our research uncovered that 8 in 10 US adults feel comfortable talking about their mental well-being. However, the figures decrease with each generation that follows, with people ages 18-24 reporting the highest levels of discomfort in talking about mental well-being. In fact, almost half of 18-24-year-olds in the US believe that their friends and family would judge them if they talked about their mental well-being — 12 points higher than the average American (36%). We believe that de-stigmatizing mental well-being discussions, especially amongst the younger generations, is crucial to decreasing these fears about judgement.
Approaching these conversations with the care and compassion they deserve can seem daunting, but interestingly, respondents feel comfortable listening to others speak about their own mental health. Nearly half of the people surveyed feel comfortable listening to others' conversations about their mental well-being. Each day on the platform we see how a thoughtful video or check-in from even a stranger can be transformative for others—these videos from creators talking about their own struggles may help the TikTok community feel seen and encourage fruitful conversations.
To further nurture TikTok's environment of empathy and understanding, we brought together some of our community's favorite creators with mental health experts to empower them to create responsible content around mental well-being. These creators learned how to talk about sensitive issues, like grief and eating disorder recovery, to build a better understanding around creating content on sensitive topics of mental well-being. Our hope is that as our community listens more to these conversations and develops a vocabulary and understanding of mental health topics, they are able to begin talking about mental health in their own lives.
Another one of the ways we're working to de-stigmatize mental well-being discussion is by supporting empathetic conversations around it. Last month, we launched a global campaign, "Mental Well-Being Comes First," to help bring awareness to the importance of mental well-being through dedicated in-app programming, including LIVEs, effects, and stickers. Our aim is to maintain a supportive environment for people who choose to share their experiences with their well-being. And for those who would like to learn more, we've launched themed hashtags to foster conversation and understanding:
- #MentalHealth - for heartfelt discussions about personal journeys with mental well-being.
- #SelfCare - for tips on how to prioritize actions that bring greater peace.
- #StressRelief - for help with relaxation.
- #HealingJourney - for candid conversations on the many ways healing can take place.
- #WeDoRecover - for encouraging stories about persevering through difficult times.
We strive to navigate the complexity of supporting our community's well-being on our platform with nuance. We take a two-pronged approach that involves removing harmful content and connecting people to resources. Our Community Guidelines do not allow content that depicts, promotes, or normalizes activities that could lead to suicide, self-harm, or disordered eating.
The survey we conducted revealed that one-quarter of people feel that they would feel more comfortable talking about their mental well-being if they had access to well-being tools and resources from online platforms. We also see that people value having access to good information from experts and organizations, with 2 in 3 respondents citing doctors and mental health professionals as their top sources for help with their mental well-being. With that knowledge, we've developed resources available throughout our app that will direct people to local experts or support, as they engage with mental well-being content.
We are always looking for ways to better understand and best support our TikTok community. We are excited about the steps we're taking to promote mental well-being, but it does not stop here—we will continue to dive into how to promote fruitful conversation and provide our community with the resources they need to flourish on and off our platform.
Global Consumer Attitudes on Mental Well-being is a survey conducted by YouGov among 16,000 adult consumers across 13 markets (United Kingdom, United States, Singapore, Germany, South Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam, Canada, Brazil, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Egypt), commissioned by TikTok in September 2022.