TikTok gets consumers grooving to the beat as it champions mental health awareness

TikTok has pushed out the "Move for mental health: Let's invest challenge" with the World Health Organisation, the World Federation for Mental Health and United for Global Mental Health. The challenge will run globally including Singapore and Malaysia until 10 October and aims to bring global awareness to the need to invest in mental health. According to TikTok, this is a need made all the more acute by the pandemic and users can participate using the hashtag #MoveforMentalHealth.

Among the list of celebrities who have joined the challenge include Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez and Marshmello, as well as creators such as Alex Ritchie from the Philippines, Monica Dogra from the US, and Tamtam from Saudia Arabia. To wrap up the campaign, WHO's director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, will be joined by world leaders, celebrities and mental health experts to talk about what consumers can all do to improve their mental health. They will also touch on how everyone can, collectively, help make sure that quality mental health care is available to everyone who needs it.

The event will be livestreamed on TikTok and will feature short videos showcasing how WHO and partners are working to improve people’s mental health around the world, celebrity testimonies, Q&As and performances, and statements of commitment from heads of state and government.

Arjun Narayan, TikTok director of trust and safety, Asia Pacific, said 2020 has upended many lives, forcing consumers to confront isolation during lockdowns and change their normal routine. "This World Mental Health Day, it’s more important than ever we increase awareness about mental health challenges and provide a platform where we can promote the safety and mental wellbeing of our users," he said.

Meanwhile, United for Global Mental Health's CEO and founder, Elisha London, said globally, there is not enough movement on mental health, despite the fact that close to one billion people across the world have a mental disorder. "Having faced years of chronic under investment, 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," she said.

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This is not the first time TikTok has placed emphasis on mental health. In fact, it has engaged in several initiatives to foster an environment that promotes good mental health. In Singapore, it works with the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre to host educational, public livestreams on important topics such as suicide prevention. Meanwhile in Malaysia, it has also collaborated with non-profit organisation Yayasan Generasi Gemilang to tackle cyberbulling in the country via the #hentikanbuli (#stopbullying) challenge. The #hentikanbuli challenge encourages users to spread awareness on cyberbullying by filming a video using the sticker, posting it with the hashtags #thinkb4youdo, #stopbullying and #hentikanbuli and set it to public, and sharing it on their social platforms.

Meanwhile, TikTok has come under the spotlight recently as it wrestled with the US government to remain in operations within the country. TikTok's parent company ByteDance has since named Oracle its technology provider this week, with media outlets such as the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal reporting that Oracle plans to acquire a minority stake in TikTok. Oracle edged out Microsoft in the race to acquire TikTok's US operations. In July this year, US president Donald Trump considered banning TikTok over privacy concerns, and announced he would sign an executive order as soon as 1 August to put the ban in motion. The pressure on ByteDance to sell its US operations also led to the departure of former CEO Kevin Mayer three months after he took on the role.

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