World Mental Health Day is this Sunday October 10th, and to mark the event, Facebook has launched a range of new assistance tools, as well as dedicated programming on Watch, and via Oculus VR, which aims to provide guidance and raise awareness of mental health concerns.
Which, given the various stresses of the last few years, will likely be welcomed by many.
First off, Facebook has developed new mental health resource cards, in conjunction with UNICEF, as well as guides for BIPOC Mental Health Month, in order to provide equitable access to mental health support.
Facebook’s also working with UNICEF to launch a new Global Mental Health chatbot on WhatsApp, which will offer tips for “communicating what’s on your mind, breaking down stigmas and starting a conversation with someone you’re concerned about”.
“Mental health and wellbeing resources like exercises to help reduce stress can also be found through the WHO’s Health Alert chatbot on WhatsApp. Regional helplines, including a Loneliness Advice chatbot developed by the Connection Coalition in the UK, are also available.”
Over on Messenger, Facebook’s added a new “I Care For You” sticker pack, in partnership with the WHO, which is designed to help kick start conversations around mental health.
Facebook also notes that several of its Bulletin newsletter writers are focused on mental health-related issues, while it’s also launching a new Facebook Watch series focused on the same:
“On October 11th, a new season of Peace of Mind with Taraji premieres on Facebook Watch. Hosted by Golden Globe-winning actress Taraji P. Henson, each episode features interviews with celebrities, experts and everyday people about mental health topics with a focus on the Black community.”
Facebook further notes that the recent finale of “Simone vs Herself” on Facebook Watch features Olympic gymnast Simone Biles opening up about the mental health challenges she faced in Tokyo this summer.
In addition, Facebook’s also looking to the next stage of digital connection, with a new VR experience on Oculus that tackles mental health experiences.
“Goliath: Playing with Reality is a free virtual reality experience on Oculus Quest that provides an up-close look at the weight of schizophrenia. [The program] explores the true story of Jon, a man diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, through immersive VR and artful narration by Academy Award-winning actress Tilda Swinton. This experience is designed to promote empathy and encourage conversations about mental health.”
Again, given the stresses of the last two years, it seems like most people have been faced with mental health challenges in one form or another, and with social platforms now playing a key connective role, it’s important for each network to provides resources like this to help guide people in need, and connect them with relevant, helpful tools and reference points.
And even if these don’t seem like major additions, sometimes just a small prompt is all people need to take a step back and consider their mental state.
Worth noting as we head into the weekend.