According to creator Kati Morton, Patreon can make a real difference for people who are trying to use their platforms for good. Kati is a licensed marriage and family therapist, author, and YouTuber with a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and a private practice in Santa Monica, CA. Over the past seven years, she has leveraged social media to increase mental health awareness. According to her website Kati hopes to help her community fight the stigmas that prevent them from getting help and “push for better services worldwide” and her work is paying off. She’s been recognized for her work in health and wellness and was nominated for a Streamy Award in 2016 and 2018. Her first book, Are u ok?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health was published in December of 2018.
But her biggest claim to fame is the twice-weekly videos she produces on her YouTube channel, which currently has nearly 750,000 subscribers and 53 million views. Her channel introduction reads, “I know reaching out for help in real life can be scary and at times overwhelming. Think of my channel as a resource, full of information so that you can educate yourself and get the best help that you or a loved one needs.”
Kati was originally drawn to YouTube because of its accessibility. Her concern was that a lot of vital information about therapy and about mental health and wellness gets stuck behind a “paywall”. Without paying to see a specialist, people often can’t get access to professional resources on mental health. And how can they make informed decisions or help themselves if they don’t know anything about their own mental health or where how to look for the right help?
“I think often people go into their therapy sessions uninformed and if I can assist in any way to give them the information so they can get the help they need versus spending potentially months trying to find out what that is, then I’ve done my job!”
This determination has helped Kati build a powerful community —and not just on YouTube! Her audience spans Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr and numbers several hundred thousand. But for Kati, Patreon’s audience-backed platform is where she has been able to make the most direct connections with her followers and really see the impact of her work.
With more evergreen content that, according to her, was “never going to be a viral hit,” a membership-based solution seemed like the best answer. She first looked at the monetization options that YouTube had to offer, but decided they weren’t going to work for her or the content she was producing. “Patreon was the only way that I would be able to continue doing what I do,” Kati said.
With more than 500 patrons and a series of tiered offerings ranging from adding patrons’ names to video credits to creating personalized videos, Kati’s Patreon platform keeps her busy! Her “Kinions” -named after the Minions from Despicable Me- can also help decide video topics, get their questions answered in monthly livestreams, receive personalized thank you notes, and access exclusive and private hangouts.
Thanks to her constant desire to create meaningful content, and an active and supportive community, Kati has seen a lot of impact in her time with Patreon. She frequently receives letters and messages from patrons who have seen her work make a difference.
“I just got a message two days ago on Patreon where someone said, ‘I found your Patreon page and its because of you that I reached out and I found a therapist and I’m finally getting treatment for my depression.’ And that was just, it’s those real moments where it’s tangible and it’s actionable for someone else that just keeps me doing what I’m doing.”
Kati believes that everyone has the ability to use their platforms for good and she encourages them to take advantage of the opportunity. Everyone has niche expertise in one area or another with valuable information for their audience. Making an impact online could be anything, Kati says, from sending a nice tweet to sharing professional knowledge.
Another area of social impact that a lot of people may not consider is mentorship. “I think a lot of people don’t recognize that you can just reach down and help somebody out and offer a little tidbit. ‘Hey, I was there too, I see you, you’re important.’ And I think that goes a really long way and that’s a really great way to use social media as a whole for good,” Kati said.
So what’s next for Kati Morton? Aside from her twice-a-week videos, which show no sign of stopping, she recently launched a video series about stress and burnout in collaboration with Google. “I get to totally nerd out and interview a lot of specialists and learn what happens in the brain and our body and why.” The BURNOUT! Series launched March 18th and can be found on her YouTube channel.