In honor of World Mental Health Day, Facebook has launched two new Messenger tools created to do just that. Produced in consultation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the tools were designed to help facilitate difficult conversations concerning mental health.
One tool is a camera filter called “Let’s Talk,” which users can apply when talking to friends who may be reluctant to ask for help. The filter will be accessible on Messenger and Stories for a week following World Mental Health Day. There is also a pack of stickers that say things like “Listening Listening Listening” and “Talk to Me.” Users can send these in private messages to initiate conversations and express feelings or emotions that Facebook identified as potentially difficult to convey in the context of mental health.
According to Facebook’s global head of safety Antigone Davis, they wanted to “create an opportunity to get people over the hump when talking about mental health.”
The best part is that for every sticker sent, Facebook will donate $1 to a select group of mental health organizations around the world — including the Trevor Project and the Crisis Text Line — for a total contribution of up to $1 million.
Consumer research contracted by Facebook from a third party suggested that messaging can lessen the difficulty of speaking on emotional and serious subjects, which informed its decision to implement these tools on Messenger. In fact, Facebook found that 80 percent of people who use messaging apps felt they could be completely honest when communicating via messaging.
“There’s a large amount of stigma around mental health, so we wanted to create brief and simple ways of indicating that you might be feeling alone,” Davis explained. “We wanted to make it easier to initiate these conversations.”