Influencers, researchers work together to enhance mental health content

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January 9, 2024 – Social media influencers have been working with experts at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to share science-based information aimed at improving mental health.

The months-long effort was the subject of a January 5 NPR article.

Amanda Yarnell, senior director of the Center for Health Communication, told NPR that influencers “have an audience that trusts them, watches them, listens to them, and we want to equip them to communicate health information effectively and accurately.”

Yarnell led a study that provided evidence-based information about topics such as the mind-body connection, trauma, and mental health inequities to a group of creators who had already been posting on TikTok about mental health issues. After the influencers received educational materials and Zoom trainings from researchers, their videos featuring evidence-based content got over half a million more views compared to posts they’d made on those topics before the intervention.

The NPR article also noted that one of the influencers, TikTok creator Kate Speer, is working with Bryn Austin, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and director of STRIPED (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders), to help inform teens about the risks of over-the-counter weight-loss supplements.

Read the NPR article: To help young people with #mentalhealth, researchers team up with TikTok influencers

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Partnering with social media influencers to boost mental health (Harvard Chan School news)

Social media influencers, faculty connect to improve mental health content (Harvard Chan School news)