Pinterest Takes Steps to Prevent Self Harm

In a day and age where social media platforms have started to become veritable pits of toxicity, Pinterest has managed to make a name for itself as a rather wholesome platform, one that would be able to provide users with an experience that would be decidedly less stressful than what they would get from some of Pinterest’s competitors, giving it an edge over companies that possess a far greater overall number of users which would normally be a decisive advantage.

One thing that has allowed Pinterest to set itself apart in this manner is its rather compassionate approach to topics like self-harm. Pinterest has tried to prevent people from accessing bad information before, focusing on people that might be searching for information that would make them stop taking vaccines and redirecting them to more reliable sources of information in this regard.

Much in the same manner, a lot of people come to Pinterest while they are in a pretty bad headspace, and as a result of this fact they often end up searching for self-harm related images and posts. This is obviously not good for their mental health, and Pinterest has tried hard to prevent such images from being hosted on the website in the first place, let alone being shown to individuals that might not be in the most rational state of mind and might just end up hurting themselves if they are left to their own devices.

Pinterest has added a couple of new features that are going to take self-harm prevention to the next level. Basically if you search for something related to self-harm, self loathing or other mental health related symptoms, you would be given two prompts, and these two prompts are the new features that Pinterest is talking about.

The first prompt will suggest that the user contact a suicide prevention hotline, with the number displayed clearly and the user being given the option to get the professional help that they need. However, this is something that a lot of websites offer, and it’s not the truly unique aspect of what Pinterest is trying to do here.

It’s the second prompt that is truly worthy of a lot of praise. This prompt will tell the user in question that there are a few exercises that they can do to ground themselves and feel a little better, getting into a more positive headspace and potentially obtaining a lot more control over their mental state all in all.

These exercises have been developed in collaboration with mental health professionals as well as charities that have been dedicated to this sort of thing, which means that if someone is having a bad mental health episode this could genuinely help them out quite a bit.
"I hear from a lot of Pinners that they come to Pinterest to do something–cook a recipe, plan a vacation. But people also come to feel something. Quotes are the third most popular search term on all of Pinterest as people look for words to help them feel more inspired (“inspirational quotes” is #22), comforted (“life quotes” is #34) and motivated (“motivational quotes” is #38). We have a responsibility to recognize how and why people use our service and build experiences that help them feel more positive when they leave.", explained Evan Sharp, Pinterest's co-founder and chief creative and design officer, in a blog post. Adding further, "These new activities are available to Pinners in the U.S. today in our apps for iOS and Android (version 7.37 and above). We are working to bring the experience to more Pinners in more places soon."
It’s very heartening to see a big social media platform taking extra steps to prevent something as painful as self-harm, and the steps that it is taking seem like less of a gimmick and more of an honest attempt from the platform to use the influence it has to try and create some positive change in the world. This is without a doubt something that other platforms should try and learn from.

Read next: Pinterest's Global Monthly Active Users Grow by 28% YoY to 322 Million!
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