Social media platform Snapchat, which allows users to send videos and photos that disappear shortly after they’re opened, will soon roll out a new mental health feature.
While many details surrounding the feature, called Here For You, remain fuzzy, the tool could create new opportunities for behavioral health providers, a spokesperson for the platform’s parent company, Snap (NYSE: SNAP), told Behavioral Health Business.
“We will be partnering with local organizations in each of the markets we launch this in,” the spokesperson told BHB in an email. “The expert organizations we are partnering with work closely with behavioral health providers, and this is absolutely something we are exploring expanding (in terms of partners).”
Santa Monica, California-based Snap announced that the in-app tool will guide users to resources and assistance from local mental health professionals.
When a user searches for certain topics, Here For You will show “safety resources from local experts,” according to the company. Some of those topics include anxiety, bullying, depression, grief, stress and suicidal thoughts.
The company announced the new tool in a blog post on its website Feb. 11 to coincide with Safer Internet Day, a yearly global event sponsored by the European Commission that promotes safe online consumption habits among teens and young adults.
Snapchat, which launched in 2011, is especially popular with a younger demographic.
In fact, 78% of Americans ages 18 to 24 use Snapchat, with 71% of users visiting the platform multiple times a day, according to the Pew Research Center.
Those users also comprise a demographic that has become increasingly vulnerable to mental health challenges over the last decade.
There was a 71% increase from 2008 to 2017 in the number of young adults ages 18 to 25 experiencing serious psychological distress over a 30-day period, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Examples of distress cited by the APA include feelings of anxiety, hopelessness and worthlessness.
During that same period, there was a 47% increase among the same demographic in suicidal thoughts and other suicide-related outcomes, which included suicidal plans and attempts as well as deaths.
Snap said that Here For You will debut in the coming months.