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Snapchat wants to be 'Here for You' with new initiative

Posted at 6:41 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 18:47:50-05

LEXINGTON, Ky (LEX 18). — Snapchat, the social media platform popular among teenagers, is rolling out a new initiative aimed at helping users who are struggling with mental health issues.

The mental health tool is called 'Here for You,' a new feature that will "provide proactive in-app support to snapchat users who may be experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis, or who may be curious to learn more about these issues and how they can help friends dealing with them."

LEX 18 went to Henry Clay High School to discuss the initiative with student representatives of the group Sources of Strength, a peer emotional support group.

The students thought the idea could be effective at counteracting some of the more toxic elements on social media platforms, and give teenagers another avenue to turn to for help outside of school.

“As amazing as some of our teachers and counselors are, they don’t always know the context behind the content that may be bubbling up," said Will Byerman, a senior at Henry Clay High School. "And the content they see is nothing without the context.”

Rachael Howard, a Henry Clay High School counselor, is a staff adviser to the group. She agrees the new initiative could help kids, but she warns of unintended consequences, including the chance that users will retreat even further into their phones.

“I would want to make sure that the students are in real life--sharing what’s going on with them, so someone that’s really there can help them," said Howard.