Black Therapists On TiKTok Are Growing Their Online Communities
Health and Wellness News

Black Therapists On TiKTok Are Growing Their Online Communities

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Black creators on the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok have voiced their concerns about how their posts are censored and that the platform’s algorithm is racist, favoring content from White creators, according to Insider.

During the height of the George Floyd protests, many posts containing #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd received no views; TikTok issued a public apology and pointed the problem to a “technical glitch,” CNN reports.

Mental health professionals increased in popularity on TikTok as many users tried to come to terms with the Derek Chauvin murder trial of George Floyd, the January 6 insurrections, and other mental health issues.  

Black therapists produced videos that made mental health attainable for individuals excluded from the health care system. Yet, they were are also susceptible to racial bias on the app, according to CNN. 

Patrice Berry, a psychologist from Virginia, uses TikTok to answer mental health questions. Berry isn’t looking to sign up new clients; she has a waitlist for new patients for her private practice. She instead sees TikTok as a tool to give back to the community. 

Berry also founded a Facebook group that caters to Black, Indigenous, and other groups looking to improve their mental health. 

 

@drpatriceberry Reply to @thedarklordpanda one of the most important things is having a good relationship with your therapist #drberryresponds ♬ Night Trouble – Petit Biscuit

“I wanted to create a safe space for us to be able to have real conversations about our experiences on the app and to share tips and resources,” she said.

However, with her extensive experience, knowledge, and owning her mental health care facility, Berry still encounters users questioning her credentials and tagging White creators to validate her statements, according to CNN. 

After coming under fire for using racist coding practices on their app, TikTok provided various initiatives to amplify Black creators like their “TikTok for Black Creatives,” incubator program that vowed to support emerging Black creators.

Black mental health professionals account for 11% of psychologists younger than 36 and 4% of the overall US psychologist workforce, according to the American Psychological Association. Yet, more than three-quarters of mental health counselors are White.

Despite the many hurdles, Alfiee Breland-Noble, a psychologist and founder of the AAKOMA (African American Knowledge Optimized for Mindfully Healthy Adolescents) Project, believes TikTok provides an avenue for people who otherwise would not seek mental health services. 

“Black people still underutilize mental health care in proportion to what the need is,” she said.

A 2021 behavioral health equity report discovered 36% of Black adolescents polled in 2019 from ages 12 to 17 received treatment for depression, whereas more than half of their White peers received medical care. 

Marquis Norton, a TikToker and licensed professional counselor, wants his videos to increase the conversation in the Black community to seek wellness options and dispel the stigmas associated with mental therapy. 


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