Pinterest is introducing “compassionate search” for stressed-out users

A home for inspiration…and stress relief?
A home for inspiration…and stress relief?
Image: Reuters/Brendan McDermid
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Pinterest may be the social network of choice for decor inspiration or hairstyle ideas, but apparently it’s also where people go to express that they’re stressed out. Although maybe this shouldn’t be a surprise, considering how often the site is used for wedding planning, an incredibly stressful ordeal.

The platform said in a blog post July 22 that there’d been “millions” of searches related to emotional health on the site in the last year in the US, so it decided to introduce a feature called “compassionate search.” The idea is that if a user searches terms like “stress quotes” or “work anxiety,” an interactive pop-up will encourage them to take some deep breaths or practice gratitude, among other solutions.

Courtesy of Pinterest

Now, if you search “stress” on the platform, plenty of solutions pop up, with pins containing 10, 12, 25 or 30 ways to cope with stress, while “stress quotes” throws up largely unhelpful quotes like “BURNOUT HAPPENS WHEN YOU AVOID BEING HUMAN FOR TOO LONG.”

The new solutions introduced by Pinterest, however, were designed not by random internet gurus, but with the help of experts at the Brainstorm Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the New York non-profit Vibrant Emotional Health.

Social networks have faced much blowback for their impact on users’ mental health, and are taking steps to counteract these effects, and to limit expressions of self-harm. Pinterest’s move goes even further, addressing less extreme signs of distress, and finding solutions that will likely be more effective than a cute image telling you “you can do anything but not everything.”