One person who does not shy away from having an open dialogue about mental health is 19-year-old Neena Rose from Ontario, Canada. Her TikTok profile has a myriad of song covers, freestyles, and her own music, which she has been making for years. Rose posted a snippet of her song, “War Zone,” in January of 2021, unsure if anyone would listen to the song if she released it.
Within one day, the TikTok received more than a million views. In the video, Rose writes that music has always helped her cope with her mental health and hopes that her songs do the same for her audience.
“Bombs and guns explode, but you can’t hear it
If you look into my eyes, you might see it
‘Cause looks can be deceiving when you got so much to lose
No bombs or guns are close, but I can hear it”
“Personally, I think writing music is more of a relief than crying,” Rose said. “The moment you can hear the tears behind a song is the moment that even the most horrible emotions become art and I think that’s beautiful.”
Others’ TikToks remain a hub for peer support. Lauren Tiffany has been posting mental health-related videos long before the pandemic, but when 2020 took the turn that it did, she was inspired to dive even deeper into mental health content. In September of 2020, Tiffany started hosting recurring Zoom events — despite being uncertain of how many people would join — to act as a safe gathering place for people to talk about anything that is on their minds. Tiffany would relay to her followers that the purpose of these meetings was to meet new people during an isolating time, have a place to talk about their struggles, share resources, give advice, and overall give people a chance to realize they are not alone. And it didn’t take long for that message to become evident — the group only kept growing each week, with meetings averaging over 200 members joining in. Tiffany’s efforts soon expanded into an Instagram account dedicated to the mental health support group. “My goal has always been to connect people on a global scale who struggle with their mental health,” Tiffany said. “People of all ages from many different countries have gotten the chance to meet each other (online) and realize that they could be in a community with others who could understand what they’re going through.”
Tiffany also curated a Spotify playlist called “Never Alone” with songs to remind people that the community is there for them. “Listening to lyrics about other people’s lives can really help you feel less alone,” she said. “I wanted to share a playlist with everyone so that the people following me could have a healthy outlet listening to music that could help their mental states.”