Whether it’s creating unrealistic beauty standards or allowing cyberbullies a larger platform, social media is often blamed for negatively impacting mental health. Now Snapchat, one of the most popular apps among teens and millennials, is rolling out a series of features to help support users’ mental health.
“As the platform that connects people with their close friends, and that reaches 90% of 13-34-year-olds in the U.S., it was clear that Snapchat could play an important role in reaching our community where they are, with new resources and tools to support their emotional and physical wellbeing,” Jacob Andreou, VP of Product at Snap Inc. tells Parentology.
With many people lacking face-to-face interactions with their support system, Snapchat is helping bridge the gap between users and mental health resources. Enter, Headspace Mini.
Headspace Mini & Snap Minis
Snap Minis — a new Snapchat feature — allow developers to bring bite-sized utilities into Snapchat. Essentially, they’re “mini” apps users can access in Snapchat.
Headspace, the leading app in mindfulness and mental training, collaborated with Snapchat to create Headspace Mini. The app provides guided meditations, animations, articles, and videos to help improve the health and mindfulness of users.
“Mental health has become one of the most widespread and important issues facing Gen Z and millennials — the two generations that are on Snapchat,” Andreou says. “Studies show that spending time with friends, whether in person or online, is one of the best defenses against feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression.”
Like Headspace, the new Mini helps educate and empower users so that they can support themselves and friends who are experiencing mental health issues. Starting today, Snapchatters can access six different meditation sessions which are three to four minutes each. Or, they can use the Mini’s tools to send encouraging messages to friends in need.
“We have always been inspired by the power that real friendships have in supporting health and happiness,” Andreou says. “We also have always felt a responsibility to help make a positive impact in the lives of our community, and that responsibility has helped drive a lot of how we architect our products — building safety and privacy directly into the product design process.”
Headspace Mini isn’t the only feature that Snapchat is using to promote mental wellness. In-app reporting also allows Snapchatters to help friends who they know are experiencing mental health crises. When a user alerts Snapchat they fear their friend may self-harm, Snapchat will send resources — access to Crisis Text Line, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, or emergency services — directly to them.
Earlier this year, Snapchat announced “Here For You,” which provided users direct help from mental health experts. As these new features roll out in the coming weeks, a new Here For You Center will be featured in Snapchatters’ profiles so they have quick, easy access through a single hub.
Snapchat Headspace — Sources
Snapchat — Jacob Andreou, VP of Product at Snap Inc.