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How a Therapist Is Using YouTube to Combat Mental Health Stigma

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Kati Morton is a licensed marriage and family therapist from California. Kati has created an online community surrounding mental health, with her YouTube channel at the center of it all. Her channel has nearly 200,000 subscribers from all over the world and is quickly growing. Her videos cover topics, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm and much more. They have personally been a huge help to me and so many others. Kati’s focus is to decrease the stigma around mental health. The most important message she wants everyone to know is that they are not alone – even if it feels that way.

Over the past few years, there has been so much change in decreasing the stigma around mental illness through the media. But there seems to still be a long way to go. Kati has been proactive in creating accessible information for anyone, no matter where they are in the world. Technology is instrumental in decreasing the stigma and in encouraging help-seeking behaviors, especially in young people.

I honestly think the more we talk about mental health in school, work and with our loved ones…[and]…share positive mental health information online the more we combat the stigma. We often don’t realize our own stigma for mental health until we are asked to share it. Considering that and fighting against the urge to keep it a secret will lessen the stigma so much more! Also, I definitely feel that technology has moved things along much more quickly than traditional media did. It has given people a place to talk about their mental health anonymously, while reaching others around the world, and be reminded that they are not alone. — Kati Morton

One of Kati’s key messages is that everyone has their mental health, just as they do their physical health. Both need to be looked after. In an ideal world, just as we all go to the doctor every now and then for a check-up, we’ve really got to start doing the same thing for our mind.

We all have mental health, and if we catch any issues early, it doesn’t have to disrupt our life. Just like any illness or struggle, if we ignore it for a long time, it will only get worse. By talking openly about mental health, hopefully people will reach out for help sooner. — Kati Morton

Kati herself makes sure that she looks after her own mental health by seeing a therapist and thinks that it is a great resource for anyone to utilize, even if you don’t have a mental illness. We all need support and someone to talk to from time to time.

I personally see a therapist and I also have a lot of coping skills and other supports. If things are getting tough, I call my therapist, take a break, talk to my friends and family until I feel better. Self-care is so very important! — Kati Morton

The brilliant community that surrounds Kati’s videos are known as “kinions” (a combination of minions and Kati!) and are unique in the YouTube space. The community is very supportive and is a major factor in many people realizing that they are not alone. It has allowed so many to connect with others all over the world who are going through similar situations in their lives. Kati has really fostered such a loving and supportive environment around her videos which is quite different to many others on YouTube.

I think I hold my community to a higher standard than other YouTubers. Firstly, I approve all comments so that no hate or trolling happens on my channel or site. Secondly, because we always talk about how we are in it together and working together, I feel that our community takes pride in it and does their part to keep it happy and healthy. — Kati Morton

The “kinion” community and Kati’s channel is rapidly growing and reaching so many people. Her aim for the future is to continue to build on this, trying to get the message out to as many people as possible both online creating new styles of videos and in person at events and speaking at schools. Making sure everyone knows that they are not alone.

I asked Kati what advice she would give to someone who is struggling, but is unsure of whether they should talk to someone about it. I know personally for quite a while, I was a bit embarrassed and wasn’t sure if my problems warranted help. I realized that this wasn’t the case and if it’s bothering you, it’s enough to speak to someone about it — a lot of that has been to do with her videos. So I asked her, what words of encouragement would you give to someone in a similar position? She said:

Know that you are not alone, and there are many people who spend their whole lives helping those who are going through what you are going through. Also, we don’t have to wait until we feel terrible or at the end of our rope to reach out. Everyone benefits from therapy, and the sooner we start talking about it, the sooner we will feel better.

This was originally published on Story of the Mind.

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Lead photo via Kati Morton’s Facebook page

Originally published: August 9, 2017
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