9 mental health trends on TikTok

With TikTok the second-most popular app for those under 35 years old, healthcare organizations are gravitating to the social media platform to develop their brands and communicate messages in a way that resonates better with younger patients.

Below are the top nine mental health trends on TikTok, according to Medical Marketing + Media:

1. Letting intrusive thoughts win

Users are uploading videos dubbed “letting the intrusive thoughts win” in which they take action on an impulse, possibly conflating intrusive thoughts with impulsive thoughts.

2. “Stupid mental health”

A TikTok user posted a popular video in 2021 that showed her reluctantly stepping outside for a walk in the winter. The accompanying text read, "Going on a stupid walk for my stupid mental health."

The video spawned a trend of TikTokers showing how they force themselves to go on walks or exercise despite often not feeling like it. The videos, which treat the subject with a sense of humor, touch on how these activities are beneficial long-term and are worth it even on bad days.

3. POV: This is what it’s like…

The popular POV, or point-of-view, genre is often humorous, but many videos are raw, honest portrayals of what life is like with certain conditions.

4. The self-diagnosing phenomenon

TikTok is home to many videos that describe symptoms of mental health conditions, leading to a rise in self-diagnoses. This can be harmful, since some conditions are rare and require a licensed healthcare professional to diagnose.

5. "Glow-up" plans

The "glow-up" is a positive transformation that results in someone becoming what they see as the best version of themselves. TikTokers have begun sharing step-by-step glow-up plans which often include healthy daily rituals, positive affirmations, journaling, exercise and therapy.

6. "Hot girl walk"

Since at least 2021, women on TikTok have increasingly cited the mental health and physical benefits of walking every day, which can make you "hot." The trend puts a positive spin on following a daily mental health routine.

7. “Lucky girl syndrome”

The "lucky girl syndrome" trend is one in which users tout the idea that if you believe you’re lucky, lucky things begin to happen. The trend can be helpful since it encourages positive thinking, which has been shown as constructive for mental health and motivation. 

8. "#Mascara"

TikTok users are posting videos with the "#mascara" hashtag to get around the platform's censorship filters in order to discuss serious issues like suicide, trauma or sexual abuse. While talking about these things can be beneficial, the trend could also trigger or re-traumatize unsuspecting users looking for content about makeup.

9. Digital detox

TikTokers are increasingly recommending people find ways to lower their screen time, and some even offer tips. Users recommend charging your phone in a separate room, putting time limits on apps or taking multiple days or weeks from your phone.

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