SAN FRANCISCO: Amid growing concerns about the negative effects of social media, Pinterest is trying to differentiate itself from competitors and argue that the platform can help users’ mental health rather than harm it.
For May’s Mental Health Month, the company has partnered with The Mental Health Coalition, a non-profit organization working to reduce mental health stigma and create creative content on topics such as mindfulness; presence; to live with intention; and digital wellness.
The San Francisco-based company also created an immersive experience, Pinterest Havens: A Whole Mood, on May 3 and 4 in New York City. It featured six installations and speakers, such as Kenneth Cole, an iconic fashion designer and founder of the Mental Health Coalition; Shandi Das, CEO of the music industry and founder of Stop the Shame, a non-profit organization focused on mental health education and awareness; and representatives of HealHaus, a black-owned spa in Brooklyn.
At the event, the company also teamed up with Joybird, a modern furniture manufacturer, to provide furniture in colors such as orange, pink and blue – and Idea Pins (Pinterest’s content type) – connected to mood rooms throughout the space.
The campaign aims to improve people’s mental health and well-being “by visiting moody rooms in real life or discovering something they haven’t previously thought about on the board,” said Elizabeth Luke, the brand’s e-mail communications manager. “We hope the creators feel inspired to create Idea Pins and visit our latest features to create even more content that resonates with the people who search for it.”
The campaign comes at a time when social media companies are facing public scrutiny, including by legislators, over their potentially harmful effects on the mental health of users, especially teenagers.
“This experience is also a moment to reflect on how Pinterest is committed to mental health awareness not only this month, but always,” Luke said. “Pinterest’s content is evergreen, so the practices, resources and inspirational content that was intentionally created this month will continue to be given to our Pinners.”
Asked if the best people can do for their mental health is to spend less time on social media and in front of screens, Luke wrote: “It’s certainly a complex issue. Mindful consumption and learning to live with technology, because technology stays there, is more important than just turning off devices. ”
“We consider it extremely successful if someone sees something on Pinterest and then tries it,” she said. “The definition of inspiration means acting in your real life, and these practices – starting new hobbies like gardening, attaching inspirational quotes, finding new tinctures and teas to explore – actually nourish you all.”
The company also said it had donated $ 6 million to its “dedicated partners,” including organizations such as the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention group among LGBTQ youth, Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective, and Mindful Philanthropy.
The company also said it was expanding its “compassionate search” feature, which offers interactive activities to help Pinners improve their mood. The feature is available in 12 countries and extends to 11 more, including France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Japan and Sweden, the company said in a statement.
In announcing the Mental Health Awareness Month initiative, the company promoted that the search for a platform for “self-reassuring techniques” had tripled and that the search for “emotional awareness” had increased 22-fold.
Asked why it’s encouraging, Luke said, “We see Pinterest as a resource for people to find ways to relieve stress and anxiety. The search for learning and improving mental health began to rise during the pandemic and continued to grow over the past year. People turn to Pinterest to find encouragement, and search trends show that they are discovering wellness techniques that they can practice. ”