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Gen-Z Mental Health Slang Provokes Conversation

Controversies abound regarding social media in general and TikTok in particular. And there’s nothing new or novel about older people expressing consternation about the slang terms embraced by younger generations. But there’s a particular convergence of those two trends that have experts especially concerned.

Mental health experts have expressed concerns about the rise of slang terms related to mental health among Gen-Z users on TikTok. Terms like “menty b” (short for mental breakdown) and “grippy sock vacation” (a euphemism for a mental-health-related inpatient hospital stay) are becoming more and more common as more users on the video sharing platform talk more openly about their mental health struggles.

These terms are examples of “algo-speak,” a lexicon of euphemistic terms related to controversial topics that TikTok producers use to prevent automated content moderation systems from downranking their content. In this sense, some mental health professionals applaud the rise of “menty b” and similar variants because speaking more openly on these topics helps to mitigate the stigmas against mental health disclosure. "Saying 'I had a menty b' takes control of the narrative," says therapist Michael Dzwil.

On the other hand, there are some that feel that terms like “menty b” can serve to trivialize serious mental health struggles and prevent people from seeking professional help, opting instead to self-diagnose and seek remedies from other TikTok users.

In Dixon’s conclusion, she recommends users find a balance between pursuing community and finding accurate information. “Wit can't resolve clinical cases alone; treatment necessitates accurate diagnoses and responsive modalities. Pithy phrases make struggles digestible, yet downplay their gravity when inappropriately applied.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

God made us for community so we ought to share our struggles with each other.

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