06 May 2023

Behind the project – Rethink Mental Illness’ new TikTok channel

We have just launched our new Rethink Mental Illness partnership. Charly Flyte, our new production trainee, alongside participatory filmmaker Jack Mead, will be creating short form film content focused on mental health for the national charity’s new TikTok channel. Inside Job Productions will provide Charly with the training to create high quality and compelling videos for the social media platform. Whilst many organisations are using TikTok, what is unique about Rethink Mental Illness is that they will support people living with the challenges of mental illness through their content. It’s a project we’re really excited about and that speaks directly to our social impact and commitment to providing opportunities for those living with mental health challenges.

Raif Howley,  Social Media Manager at Rethink Mental Illness explains why it’s so important.

Why did you decide Rethink Mental Illness needs a TikTok channel?

We know that a huge chunk of mental illnesses are diagnosed before someone’s 18th birthday. Tik Tok is a platform largely used by the under 25’s, so it only makes sense that a lot of those young people being diagnosed with a mental illness will be turning to social media for advice and information about what they are experiencing. Mental illness can be really confusing, particularly when it first begins and you’re not sure exactly what is happening to you. If someone is turning to Tik Tok for guidance, it’s pivotal that we carve out a space in that arena for trusted information that young people can rely on.

What is it about the partnership with IJP that excites you?

There’s a multitude of reasons why this excites me. Bringing Charly on board is a unique opportunity to create content for people experiencing mental illness, made by somebody who has their own lived experience of it. I’m so excited to work alongside Charly as we will be able to bounce ideas off each other and tailor them to our audience in a way that works specifically for the Tik Tok channel. The other unique element of this partnership is that we also have Jack’s wealth of experience and know-how to fall back on. Sometimes, when working in charity communications, you can come up with what you think is a brilliant idea, but realise that there isn’t the budget or capacity to do it. With Jack’s video knowledge, and Charly’s ideas and experience, we’ve got a really exciting formula to create engaging, informative content for our audience.

What will be different about your content compared to all the other mental health content out there?

Having Charly on board helps ensure that our content is created alongside the knowledge of somebody who has their own experience of mental illness. Where possible, we want a large majority of our content to come from the perspective of lived experience. Social media can be a power for good when you nurture a feeling of community. If we make people realise that however they are feeling, that feeling is valid and somebody else has gone through something similar, that’s when we can inspire hope. Not only hope towards a better life for individuals experiencing mental illness, but also hope that we can create a society and a community that truly cares for everyone affected by mental illness too.

Why is important to you to focus not just on wellbeing, but mental illness?

The thing that sets us apart is that we focus our content towards people who are severely affected by mental illness, rather than wellbeing and mental health. The mental health conversation has come a long way in the last 20 years, and that’s amazing to see! People are now a lot more comfortable to speak about their experiences of things like anxiety and depression, which can be hugely debilitating. Our mission is to move that conversation on so that people feel just as comfortable speaking about more severe mental illnesses, like personality disorders, OCD, bipolar, schizophrenia and eating disorders. There’s still lots of work to be done before these conditions are spoken about in the same manner. We surveyed 1,300 people living with mental illness ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week and the results were overwhelming: there is not enough awareness and understanding about what it means to be severely affected by mental illness. That must change.

 When will the channel launch and what can we expect to see?

We are launching our channel during Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May). We have long-form interviews with people who live with mental illness which we are cutting down to suit the short-form types of video that work so well on Tik Tok. Moving forward, we’ll be working closely with Charly and teams across the charity to represent everything that Rethink Mental Illness does. One thing is certain, lived experience of mental illness will be a constant throughout our content. Whether it’s how to notice symptoms, tips on how to support people, or advice on how you can get involved in our campaigns, all of our content will have the same aim: to help create a community that truly cares for people severely affected by mental illness.