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Pinterest users prompted to do emotional wellbeing activities if they seem distressed

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Pinterest is continuing its work to support its users’ mental health with the introduction of “emotional wellbeing activities” to its app. Created in collaboration with emotional health experts at Brainstorm, the Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation, and with advice from Vibrant Emotional Health and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the activities are suggested to anyone who searches for things like “stress quotes”, “work anxiety” or other terms that indicate they are feeling stressed, anxious or sad.

This is in response to growing concerns over the impact of social media on the mental health of its users, and the millions of Pinterest searches – in the US alone – related to emotional health.

Pinterest says these new activities are “not meant to replace professional care, but may help someone if they need support”.

The interactive exercises offer ways of helping users relax, such as breathing exercises, methods of practicing self-compassion and compassion for others, accepting emotions, recognising personal strengths, refocusing your attention, practicing gratitude and making plans.

This follows Pinterest’s feature that directs anyone searching for self-harm-related content to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which they can get to in just two taps.

Importantly, users’ interaction with these features is private and disconnected from their accounts, and is not tracked. Therefore recommendations and adverts won’t be based on their use of the resources. At the moment, it’s only being rolled out to US users via the app in iOS and Android, but the platform hopes to extend this globally in future.

Annie Ta, Pinner product manager, says the company “wanted to create a more compassionate, actionable experience that tries to address a broader emotional spectrum of what Pinners may be looking for.”

Back in 2017, Studio Output’s David McDougall wrote about its experimental research study into design’s role in mental health-considerate social media.

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