A Viral TikTok Video Uses Rice to Make an Important Point About Mental Health

Korin Miller
·2 mins read
Photo credit: TikTok
Photo credit: TikTok

From Men's Health

  • A viral TikTok video is making an important point about the prevalence of mental health issues.

  • Psychologist Dr. Julie Smith uses grains of rice to explain that one in four people have mental health issues.

  • She urges people to "be kind" as you never know when someone in your circle might be struggling with their mental health.

One psychologist is using TikTok to try to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Dr. Julie Smith is going viral for using rice to demonstrate just how common mental health issues are. “This could be the most important video you see today,” she said, while holding a wine glass of brown rice. On the table in front of her is another wine glass of brown rice, and another glass of wild rice.

“I want you to imagine that this rice represents the population of the world,” she said, pouring out the glass in her hand. She then explained that the brown rice signifies people who will never have a mental health issue. “The wild rice represents the one in four of us who will at some point in our lifetime experience a mental health problem,” she said. (Btw, this statistic is in line with data from the National Institutes of Health that indicates that 26 percent of Americans will suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year.)

Smith then mixed up all the rice together. “When you have a mental health problem, your mind convinces you that you’re the only one,” she said. Smith took several random grains of rice and separated them into categories of family, friends, and colleagues.

Mental health issues are “a natural part of being human, so whether you’re with family, friends, or colleagues, the likelihood is, a few of those, at some point in their lives, are also going to struggle with their mental health,” she said.

She ended on this note: “Even if you’re not struggling, the chances are you will brush shoulders with someone who is. So be kind.”

People were all about it in the comments. “Love this!” one wrote. “I’m one of those dark brown rice,” another said. “Awesome representation doc,” someone else wrote.

Just a heads up: Smith has a bunch of these explainer TikToks online—and they’re definitely worth checking out.

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