Trending toward change: Hampton Roads locals go viral on TikTok while advocating for mental health

Hampton

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — We’ve seen people struggle during the pandemic with an increase in abuse while others are facing mental obstacles.

Now, local advocates say they are here to help, and they are using the TikTok app.

It’s called “TikTok therapy” which includes dance moves and tips for your mental health.

“Music helps move trends,” says Dr. Marquis Norton, a therapist and HU professor who started using TikTok to help teens and young adults.

“It’s a little less intimidating because it’s dancing, its music that people like.”

His TikTok took off during the pandemic.

“With social media, whether we want to or not, we’re receiving a lot of information. I’m just trying to promote and normalize mental health.”

So far, Norton has had more than 2 million likes. Some of his most popular videos share tips and relationship advice.

But it’s not all fun and games on the app. The account “NeishasVoice” is geared to spread awareness about domestic violence.

“The way I look at it, even when people are laughing in TikTok, Instagram or whichever [social media app] they are still domestic violence happening,” said Neisha Himes, domestic violence survivor and CEO of Grow. ” So why not get the word out.”

As an abuse survivor, Neisha wants to help people recognize dating violence.

“I try to be real on my page, but not too heavy.”

Himes downloaded the app to reach teenagers. She said teen dating violence is just as common as abuse with adults.

Now digital abuse is on the rise. That includes stalking social media accounts, or cyberbullying.

Both TikTok stars get great feedback and help people all over the world.

“You are not alone. There is a community of people who may be going through a similar experience. We are here to help you.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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