By Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety
Social media is where people can turn to celebrate life’s most joyful moments and seek support in some of the hardest. While an online community can provide invaluable support, we know that many find it uncomfortable to share personal feelings in a broad public setting.
Private messaging, on the other hand, can make it easier to talk about emotional or serious subjects, according to a survey Facebook conducted in the UK, US and Australia. Respondents said they could communicate more clearly and be more open when messaging versus in person. In fact, 80% of people surveyed said they felt they could be completely honest when messaging.
In honor of World Mental Health Day, and to help people have important conversations around mental health, we’re releasing a “Let’s Talk” Stories filter on Facebook and Messenger. Developed with input from the World Health Organization (WHO), the filter acts as an invitation for friends who might be struggling to reach out for support through Messenger.
We’re also releasing a “Let’s Talk” sticker pack on Messenger with 16 stickers that can help when words are hard to find. Each time a sticker is sent, Facebook will donate $1 to a group of mental health organizations, up to $1 million USD. It’s our hope that these tools will make it easier for people to begin conversations that can lead to support.
It takes less than a minute to show someone you care. This year for World Mental Health Day, the World Health Organization is encouraging people to take 40 seconds of action to let people who are struggling know they’re not alone. Sharing your “Let’s Talk” selfie is an easy way to do that. To use the World Mental Health Day “Let’s Talk” camera filter, open the camera in Facebook or Messenger and tap on the filter on the bottom of your screen. You can also download the sticker pack by clicking on the smiley face in the text box of any Messenger conversation.
Showing you’re available to help a friend is the first step, but what should you do next? According to mental health experts, it’s important to show that you care and are really listening. Express your concern, allow them to open up and help them find resources. Facebook offers some resources through our safety and well-being center. You can also find support there for yourself if you are struggling. Facebook Groups can be another place to go to find supportive connections. More than 2.5 million people in the US, UK and Australia are members of at least one of the 7,000 groups dedicated to supporting people with mental health.
We encourage people to look for more resources from local, state, federal or international organizations. A list of organizations Facebook is donating to can be found below.