Welcome to AnxietyTok: An empirical review of peer support for individuals living with mental illness on social networking site TikTok.

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Lindsay` Gallagher


The mobile app TikTok is different than any other platform before it, thanks to its highly sophisticated algorithm that shows users a custom feed of videos tailored to their interests and identities. The site is especially popular with young people and encourages a high level of creativity and engagement among users, which provides a space for communities to form and thrive. One of these is the mental illness community, where users tell personal stories, share accomplishments, and tell jokes about getting treated for and living with mental illness. I chose to focus specifically on videos made by people that identified as having a mental illness themselves. In this observational study, I sort TikTok videos into four categories -- informational, anecdotal, humor, and accomplishment sharing, and the resulting comments under those videos into six categories -- praise, questions, strategy sharing, experience sharing, criticism, and agreement with the creator. The proliferation of the mental illness community on TikTok allows users to feel empowered by sharing their stories and start dialogues to raise awareness and celebrate one another’s victories.

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