TikTok challenge for mental health

Join the challenge #MoveforMentalHealth on Tik Tok.
Join the challenge #MoveforMentalHealth on Tik Tok.
Image: 123RF/ Alessandro Biascioli

Mobile video-sharing app TikTok has launched a Move for Mental Health: Let’s Invest challenge in support of World Mental Health Day on Saturday.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health have chosen the theme for 2020: Greater investment, greater access. Everyone, everywhere.

Fewer than one in 10 South Africans with a mental illness have access to care, though an estimated one in three South Africans “will or do suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lifetime”, the SA Depression and Anxiety Group said this week.

South Africans are urged to join celebrity DJ Marshmello, and creators such as Coach Janick and Shawnee Reid, in the challenge, using the #MovementforMentalHealth.

The Akeso mental health facility network also launched an online campaign this week, inviting the public “to leave mental health notes to self” via its online platform. Contributions are anonymous.

Dr Sandile Mhlongo, MD of Akeso, said that stigma around mental health remained one of the biggest challenges to people getting professional care, after underfunding.

“This happens when one worries what others might think of them should they seek care. Often there are misconceptions that mental health afflictions like depression and anxiety indicate a level of ‘weakness’ and that you should ‘just get through’ any issues you are facing,” he noted.

But awareness around mental health conditions — which have worsened globally under the Covid-19 pandemic — is rising.

TikTok is encouraging South Africans “to play sport, dance, go for a walk or come up with their own ways to move this World Mental Health Day and film themselves moving for mental health in any way they would like” in its latest challenge.

United for Global Mental Health CEO Elisha London said: “Having faced years of chronic underinvestment, this World Mental Health Day we are coming together to #MoveforMentalHealth with TikTok's support because now more than ever it's time to invest so that everyone, everywhere has someone to turn to.”

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will be joined by world leaders, celebrities and mental health experts via a live stream on Saturday at 4pm SA time on TikTok talking about “how the community can help make sure that quality mental health care is available to everyone who needs it”.

TikTok content operations manager, Africa, Boniswa Sidwaba, said: “This World Mental Health Day, it’s important, now more than ever, that we increase awareness about mental health challenges and provide a platform where we can promote the safety and mental wellbeing of our users.”



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