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Study Reveals How Unreliable Mental Health Advice Is on Social Media

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With such an abundance of content on social media available at our fingertips, how can you be sure that what you’re reading is accurate and safe?

To find out how (un)reliable medical information found on social media can be, Delamere have analysed mental health awareness posts on TikTok.

According to the research carried out by Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, 61% of the information provided on TikTok about mental health is incorrect. Despite having more than 10 million views, the TikTik video ‘Signs of high functioning anxiety’ was only 50% accurate. ‘Symptoms of bipolar disorder’ scored even lower, with a shocking score of just 13 out of the possible 40. 

Founder and chief executive at Delamere Martin Preston: ‘While the internet is a great tool to have, social media is not the best place to visit for accurate medical information, since anyone can post anything there without being properly qualified or their information being properly fact-checked.

‘If you are seeking medical information or advice online, make sure you are using the websites of trusted medical institutions such as the official NHS website. For the vast majority of medical concerns there will be an established, trustworthy charitable organisation set up with a professional website that will answer most questions. Examples of these sites are Macmillan, which focuses on cancer and Mind, which focuses on mental health.

‘When scouring the internet for medical information, it is important not to fall into the trap of self-diagnosis. While Google can provide us with some accurate information, terminology and definitions surrounding various mental health concerns, remind yourself that only a medical professional like a doctor is qualified to provide you with a diagnosis.’

Their team of addiction treatment professionals watched the most viewed videos on TikTok about addiction and mental health, and reviewed the advice given against four factors. Scoring ten points for each factor; an accurate and reliable social media medical advice video must contain 100% factually correct information, come from a qualified and trusted creator, be suitable for its audience and advise the viewer to speak to a doctor.

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