Today is World Mental Health Day, an opportunity for global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma that was first marked in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health. In recognition of the day, Pinterest this morning detailed ways it’s helping better serve users struggling with emotional well-being.
Specifically, Pinterest says it’s using machine learning techniques to identify and hide content that displays, rationalizes, or encourages self-injury. (Pinterest, of course, has a robust AI toolset at its disposal — it recently revealed that Lens, its online/offline visual search tool that taps AI to identify things captured from Pins or by a smartphone and suggest related themes and products, can now recognize 2.5 billion home and fashion objects.) The company says it has achieved an 88% reduction in reports of self-harm content by users and that it’s now able to remove such content 3 times faster.
Additionally, over 4,600 search terms and phrases related to self-harm have been removed from the platform, Pinterest says, and links to free and confidential support from expert resources are now more prominently displayed to members who search for those keywords. People showing signs of distress now see the resources directly in their boards (i.e., home screens), an approach Pinterest says was developed with guidance from outside emotional health experts at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Vibrant Emotional Health, and Samaritans.
Elsewhere, Pinterest this morning broadened the rollout of the emotional well-being interactive practices and exercises it introduced in the U.S. through its iOS app earlier this year. Previously, the activities appeared only when someone searched for something indicating sadness or depression, like “stress relief” or “sad quotes,” but now a search for the hashtag “#pinterestwellbeing” (without quotes) launches them straightaway.
To coincide with the activities’ expanded availability, they’ve gained a fresh look, with new illustrations and animations to “make the experience even more inviting.”
Lastly, for World Mental Health Day, Pinterest worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) to curate Pins meant to reduce the stigma of suicide and offer ways to support people who may be at risk. These are viewable from the WHO’s profile page.
“Pinterest is where people go to find inspiration, but that isn’t easy when you’re feeling down or in despair. These resources and activities are here to both help people with how they’re feeling and improve the quality of the inspiration they find on Pinterest,” wrote head of products Omar Seyal in a blog post. “World Mental Health Day is an important time to bring awareness to the challenges surrounding mental health and support our most vulnerable friends, family members, and neighbors. But for us, this work is not just a 24-hour commitment. We believe a healthy life is an inspired life, and we’re working hard to build Pinterest in a responsible, compassionate way everyday.”