What does “SH” mean on TikTok? Mental Health Slang Explained

Acronyms have become a permanent feature of our everyday lingo, and they inform how this generation communicates, with TikTok being the originator of most abbreviations. Chances are you’ve seen the abbreviation “SH” constantly used on the short-form video streaming entertainment app and might be wondering what it means. If you think it’s similar to SMH, you’d be disappointed to learn you’re wrong.

Trigger warning: The content of this article deals with mental health issues and may be sensitive for some readers. Discretion is strongly advised.

Acronyms are often used on social media apps (image via Getty/Unknown)“/>
Acronyms are often used on social media apps (image via Getty/Unknown)

The popularity of TikTok slang reflects how digital language has seeped into our in-person conversations. Oddly enough, most common slang comes in the form of abbreviations, even though the app has no character limit.

Even then, it’s worth noting that Twitter hasn’t developed an alphabet for itself despite having a 280-character limit per post, which previously only allowed 140 characters. The TikTok generation, however, managed to change the way we talk.


What does “SH” refer to on TikTok?

The social media app serves as a safe space for many (image via Getty/Mayada S)“/>
The social media app serves as a safe space for many (image via Getty/Mayada S)

The abbreviation “SH” is often used in TikTok videos, and it usually refers to “self-harm”. The idea of ​​using the abbreviated version instead of the full word is to inform users that the original poster acknowledges that self-harm is a sensitive subject and believes that mental health issues should be taken seriously.

While the app is popular for its funny music videos and dance videos, it’s also a powerful platform for voicing concerns like mental health and safety, with the hashtag “mentalhealth” being used more than once. billion times, garnering over 14.6 billion views. Many users take to TikTok regularly to share stories and/or lessons about their struggles and how they are coping with the difficulties of their journey.

There are also therapists on the platform who offer tips and suggestions for self-care. The pandemic has led to an increase in mental health issues due to fear, isolation, stress and lack of resources, which naturally necessitated targeting eudaemony.

After the pandemic, it became important to focus on mental health (image via Getty Images/Unknown)“/>
After the pandemic, it became important to focus on mental health (image via Getty Images/Unknown)

Similar to the use of “SH”, the topic of mental wellbeing is treated with care and caution on the social media platform. The use of the acronym tells potentially-triggered viewers that they can choose whether or not to continue watching said video instead of being caught off guard by its content.

The app is often seen as a safe space where people can share their stories and find like-minded people who have struggled with similar issues. Most videos that use the hashtag “mentalhealth” or the acronym “SH” usually provide help and resources that can benefit someone else. They are often assertive and benevolent, and represent all types of struggles.


TikTok has become a dominant app among other social media platforms due to its algorithm, which tends to push feel-good content, even if some are more entertaining than informative. Either way, people are using the app to share ways to take care of themselves, such as practicing yoga, journaling, fitness, mindfulness, healthy eating , etc.

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