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Snapchat’s new mental health tool will offer helpful intervention

Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube have made their stance relatively clear: Use these platforms at your own risk. They’re not the truth police, and whether or not other people harass you is up to you to handle. Of course we know where this has gotten us. We now have everything from a hacked election to a range of mental health issues among social media users to show for it.

Snapchat is launching a search tool called Here For You that will surface “safety resources” from mental health experts when users search for sensitive topics like anxiety, depression, suicide, and bullying.

Snapchat, the platform has one of the youngest audiences of any social media platform. It reaches 90 percent of 13- to 24-year-olds, a group who may be most vulnerable to bullying or suggestive content.

“Snapchat was built with privacy at its core starting with ephemerality and designed to let people be themselves, without the pressure of being judged by others,” according to the company’s blog post.

Aside from Here For You, Snap will also use the results page to promote curated shows that it or its partners have produced on topics like anxiety or depression. That might sound a little self-promotional, but then again, if the content is already on the service, and it’s helpful to this audience, Snap is only surfacing it in a clear way.

While Here For You technically launches today, Snap will be making many more updates and announcements to it over the coming year.

“We feel a real responsibility to try to make a positive impact with some of our youngest, sometimes most vulnerable users on our platform,” says Stout. “We know this is the first step of a lot of work we want to do to provide the right resources to our users.”

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