Since time immemorial, mental health and mental illness has been a tabooed topic, only meant to be discussed behind close doors. Till a few years ago, even admitting that you have a mental illness could turn you into a social pariah, only meant to be ridiculed and isolated.
In India around the world, only one third of the total number of people suffering from mental health problems actually reach out and seek help. The whole idea of therapy or seeking psychiatric help from experienced professionals has been so stigmatised in India that people would prefer to suffer in silence rather than just ask for help.
While social media and its pervasive nature has long been held responsible for contributing to the mental health crisis, it has also helped start a much needed conversation on a range of mental health topics, which otherwise would not have been possible. From connecting people who've been suffering from similar conditions to allowing people a platform to express their thoughts and opinions without the overwhelming fear of being judged, one must not ignore social media's role in attempting to normalise and shatter stereotypes associated with mental health.
Apps like TikTok, which allow people to share short videos, have started numerous campaigns that spread awareness on mental health and illnesses and even encourages users to express themselves. Earlier this year, TikTok ran a campaign with the hashtag, #YourLifeMatters in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day.
On World Mental Health Day (October 10), TikTok has come up with a similar campaign with the hashtag #UnmuteYourself; it urges users who might be suffering from mental illnesses to open up about their battles. We came across some rather interesting videos on the platform which have gone viral for all the right reasons. While some speak about loneliness and how to cope with it, some assert that keeping pets can go a long way in reducing stress and anxiety.