The increasing awareness of mental health on social media has shown that the users have grown to be psychiatrists, therapists, and other professionals. This spread of awareness has led to self diagnosing on a 30 second video found on social media.

CORQ, a resource online that provides information about digital culture, writes about these issues specifically. The author of this article, Lucinda Diamond, writes about a TikTok user who uses their platform to publicize their autism. It later turns out that she was self diagnosed, which led to negative backlash from those who were properly diagnosed. Is this attempt to spread awareness beginning to make a negative impact?

The accessible nature of TikTok allows users to hear about and learn about mental health issues. The short 60 second videos gives a quick and easy notion on a topic that many are interested in. This trend seems harmless but some stress the dangers being apparent in ways of self diagnosing. 

Emily Silva, a marketing major at Saint Joseph’s University and frequent TikTok user, has noticed this trend. She believes that it is an unreliable source of information, even though some of it comes from professionals. “I think if you are concerned enough to begin to self diagnose, you should seek correct treatment,” she quotes.

Amy Carvalho, a psychology major at Saint Joseph’s University, agrees. She says she does not agree with it because she feels as if it undermines mental illnesses and the field of psychology as a whole. She believes people spend years of their lives specializing in mental illnesses and diagnosis’ and people who are unqualified to diagnose are now diagnosing themselves. She claims “my major affected this answer because it gave me a new appreciation for psychology and mental illnesses and made me realize there is so much more to a mental illness than just the symptoms and diagnosing someone.”

On the contrary to Carvalho, Anna Barile, who is also a psychology major at Saint Joseph’s University, believes mental health diagnosis is a privilege because not everyone can go to a psychiatrist. She says some people self diagnose because that is the best they can do with the resources they have at the time. Although she does believe there should be a line drawn due to the unreliability of social media. She would encourage people who are struggling to use more credible resources such as the DSM.

If you are in need of resources, using sites with the suffix of “.org”, “.edu”, or .gov” you will receive more reliable information on the topic of diagnosis for mental health.

There are risks that come with self diagnosing along with helpful information that can lead you down the right path for your mental health. Which side are you taking?