NEW YORK, United States — Pinterest, the social media platform best known for helping users discover recipes, interior design and style inspiration has rolled out a series of new wellbeing activities designed to support users’ mental wellness.
The move follows similar initiatives by other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, which have both taken proactive measures to help users navigate their mental health, in response to greater calls for action. According to data from the IHME’s Global Burden of Disease, approximately 13% of the global population (around 971 million people) currently suffer from some type of mental disorder and the connection between social media, technology and health hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Like its peers, Pinterest has chosen to help users strike a balance between mental wellbeing and the benefits of social networking before they log off for good.
Created in partnership with Brainstorm, the Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation, Vibrant Emotional Health and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Pinterest’s new wellness practices offer users an “interactive way to try to improve their mood — from tools to help someone relax to self-compassion exercises”. The aim is to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, stress or sadness.
“People come to Pinterest to discover ideas, get inspired and focus on themselves, their interests, their futures,” wrote Pinterest product manager Annie Ta, on the company’s website.
“One of the main ways people find inspiration is through Search, from summer activities to creative ways to express yourself. But we know that life isn’t always so inspiring, and things on the internet aren’t either,” she added.
According to the platform, real-life feelings and experiences are regularly carried into the digital realm, with the site experiencing millions of searches related to emotional health, over the past year.
With that in mind, it has worked with experts “to make it easy for people in distress to access supportive resources,” explained Ta.
“Together we wanted to create a more compassionate, actionable experience that tries to address a broader emotional spectrum of what Pinners may be looking for,” she added.
For users in the US who search for mental health-related terms such as “stress quotes” or “work anxiety”, they’ll now receive a prompt asking them whether they would like to explore the platform’s wellbeing resources. In more extreme cases, such as someone searching for something self-harm related, they’ll be directed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
According to the company, these resources will look different from the rest of Pinterest, will remain private and won’t be connected to their account. This means a user won’t be shown recommendations or adverts based on their use of the service.
The experience is said to be one of many new initiatives Pinterest is trying in its ongoing efforts to create an inspiring and welcoming place for users without damaging the reputation of its core product.