Snapchat has announced that it will bring forward the launch of its new 'Here For You' mental health resource center, making it available to all users this week in response to rising angst around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Announced last month, 'Here For You' will provide in-app support to Snapchatters who may be experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis, with links to relevant resources and exercises to help people cope with such concerns.
In its original announcement of the tool, Snapchat had said that it would be rolling out "in the coming months", but with concerns rising amid the COVID-19 outbreak, it's decided to move forward and get it out sooner, in order to boost assistance.
Snapchat provided SMT with this statement:
"In light of the anxiety and stress people are experiencing with the onset of coronavirus, we're speeding up the launch of 'Here For You' and making the feature available to all Snapchatters globally. As part of the rollout, we're also building a customized search section within Here For You related specifically to coronavirus, which will showcase relevant updates from the World Health Organization, the CDC, Crisis Text Line, NHS and other partners who are creating content on anxiety specifically related to coronavirus. We expect this section to start rolling out to Snapchatters next week."
In addition to this COVID-19 specific element, Snapchat will also be partnering with Active Minds, Because of You, Crisis Text Line, Seize the Awkward, Young Minds, The Samaritans and Diana Award, in order to provide content designed to address the mental health concerns of Snapchat users.
The move is part of Snapchat's expanded response to the pandemic - Snapchat has also partnered with the World Health Organization and US Centers for Disease Control to help ensure that Snapchatters are getting the latest information from expert sources.
That includes, among other elements, the launch of a COVID-19 focused Snap Lens which shares key information on how to reduce your risk of infection.
In addition to this, Snapchat also notes that 'Here For You' will be able to provide assistance to those feeling isolated due COVID-19 lockdowns:
"We have always been inspired by the power that real friendships have in determining health and happiness. Here For You was informed by studies that show that connecting with friends - whether in person or online - is often the best defense against feelings of loneliness and anxiety. We also know that Snapchatters are deeply interested in understanding these issues, and how they can support friends who are struggling with them."
In a time of great uncertainty, tools like this can provide significant assistance. This is especially key among younger audiences, Snapchat's core user market, as the ongoing impacts of the crisis can disproportionately impact their mental health and stability.
It's good to see each social platform stepping up to help better inform and assist their users, and ensure that people are getting access to accurate, helpful resources amid the outbreak.
Snapchat's 'Here For You' resource will be available to all users from this week.