James Kole

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Social media’s prevalence has grown through the years with 4.63 billion users around the world as of January 2022 (Global Social Media Stats). With the prevalence of social media, the question of the information, or in this case, the misinformation, that is on media platforms, especially about mental health, is one that needs to be brought to light. Mental health issues and disorders have become more of an open topic recently, and with the outreach on social media around mental health, the spread of misinformation can reach many audiences. This study analyzes just how potent the misinformation on mental health within a specific social media app, TikTok, is and how people’s perceptions of that mental disorder change or vary due to the information. The research involves a survey through Qualtrics with two TikTok videos created by the researcher about the disorder Major Depression with both having a mix of misinformation and information. Each video has six statements that fall into specific categories about depression, with one video having the misinformation and the other having the correct information. The participants answered questions along the Likert scale about their belief of depression before and after the videos and were given the correct information at the end of the survey. The survey was sent out to UNC Greeley students through the SONA program and given to some professors to show to their class. The results with 73 UNC student respondents, showed that some already strong beliefs can be boosted while already weak beliefs can decrease no matter the information shown, but some beliefs can be drastically changed based off the information one sees through social media.

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