If you’ve finally started to explore the world around you after more than a year of being home, we hope you’re enjoying the newfound freedom. But this has been a hard year for many of us—yes, even those who seem happy all the time—as a pandemic has raged (and continues to rage) throughout parts of the world.
But feeling blue, lonely, and sad might not be unique to this year, which is why teens are using TikTok as a way to participate in Mental Health Awareness month (yes! that’s May!). Their goal? To remove the stigma and loneliness associated with feeling unhappy. Many of the teens coming forward are sharing messages of when they felt sad and depressed, and how they found help and support. Furthermore, stars like singer Meghan Trainor and social media personality Avery Cyrus share ways that you can reach out to friends who might be struggling with mental health issues.
On one hand, critics say apps like TikTok and Instagram increase stress and cause users to feel more isolated and lonely. On the other hand, the same apps are used by thousands of people who share their stories about mental health, making those who experience similar challenges feel, well, less lonely. Everything in moderation is probably a good idea, but if you’re curious what mental health even means, here’s what the World Health Organization says: “Mental Health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”