Amidst growing concern about the negative consequences of social media, Pinterest is trying to distinguish itself from rivals and make the case that the platform can help, rather than hurt, users’ mental health.
For Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the company partnered with The Mental Health Coalition, a nonprofit that works to reduce stigma around mental health, to generate creative content on topics such as mindfulness; presence; living 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. It featured six installations and speakers such as Kenneth Cole, the iconic fashion designer and Mental Health Coalition founder; Shandi Das, a music industry executive and founder of Stop the Shame, a nonprofit focused on education and awareness about mental health; and representatives of HealHaus, a Black-owned wellness center in Brooklyn.
For the event, the company also partnered with Joybird, a modern furniture maker, to provide furniture in colors such as orange, pink and blue — and Idea Pins (a type of Pinterest content) — connected to mood rooms throughout the space.
The campaign’s goal is to improve people’s mental health and wellbeing by “visiting the mood rooms in real life or discovering something they hadn’t previously considered on the board,” Elizabeth Luke, senior brand communications lead, said via email. “We hope creators feel inspired to make Idea Pins when they visit and try our latest features to create even more content that resonates with people seeking out this content.”
“This experience is also a moment to reflect on how Pinterest is committing to mental health awareness not just this month, but always,” Luke said. “Pinterest content is evergreen so the practices, resources and inspiring content that is intentionally created this month will continue to give to our Pinners.”
Asked whether the best thing people can do for their mental health is to spend less time on social media and before screens, Luke wrote, “It’s certainly a complex issue. Mindful consumption and learning to live with technology, since technology is here to stay, is more important than simply shutting down devices.”
“We consider it extremely successful when someone sees something on Pinterest, and then tries it” she said. “The definition of inspiration implies taking action in your real life, and these practices — taking up new hobbies like gardening, Pinning inspirational quotes, finding new tinctures and teas to explore — they all actually nourish you.”
The company also said that it donated $6 million to its “purpose partners,” which include organizations such as the Trevor Project, a group aimed at preventing suicide among LGBTQ youth, the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective and Mindful Philanthropy.
The company also said that it is expanding its “compassionate search” feature, which offers interactive activities to help Pinners improve their mood. The feature is available in 12 countries and expanding 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 touted that searches on the platform for “self-soothing techniques” tripled and that “emotional awareness searches” increased by 22 times.
Asked why this was encouraging, Luke said, “What we are seeing is that Pinterest is a resource for people to find ways to relieve stress and anxiety. Searches about learning and improving mental health started to rise during the pandemic and have continued to grow throughout the past year. People turn to Pinterest to find encouragement, and search trends show they are discovering wellness techniques to practice.”
This article originally appeared on PRWeek US.