Snapchat is addressing potential mental harm incurred through the use of its services with the launch of a new wellbeing search tool which streamlines access to a wealth of resources on issues such as depression, suicide and anxiety.
‘Here for You’ is the first product launch from Snap which tackles the health and wellness agenda head-on and forms part of a concerted push by the social media provider to get ahead of the curve on an issue which has tripped up main rival Instagram.
By simply typing in flagged words and phrases such as ‘anxiety’ the app will whisk users to relevant self-help material including expert advice, anxiety-relieving videos and third-party content.
The intervention follows a 2017 study by the Royal Society for Public Health which quantified the damage Snap can have on the mental wellbeing of young people for the first time. Its survey of 1,500 people aged 14-25 found a net negative impact. Particularly on sleep and the fear of missing out. In all 71% supportive of initiatives such as installing a pop-up warning for overuse of social media.
In a blog post Snapchat explained this sense of responsibility: “Today, in honour of Safer Internet Day, we are announcing several resources to help uphold this responsibility. We’re starting with a new feature, called Here For You, that will provide proactive in-app support to Snapchatters who may be experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis, or who may be curious to learn more about these issues and how they can help friends dealing with them.
“Today, Snapchatters will also be able to engage with Creative Tools and Lenses that promote safety and privacy, which include new Filters and our first-ever Snapable quiz.”
The road to improving the Snapchat user experience has been a long one with initiatives ranging from a ‘real friends’ push to connect users, to the launch of Snap counsellors in India to assist teens who are vulnerable to abuse and a partnership with the Samaritans.