Snapchat partners with a meditation app

Snapchat, the message and photo-sharing app that’s popular among teens, tweens and young adults, has partnered with a meditation app to give members access to mental health help.

Its parent company, Snap Inc., is partnering with the popular meditation app Headspace to bring guided meditations, mindfulness practices and mental health help to Snapchat’s members. The idea is that Snapchatters will be able to kick back with quick meditations or send encouraging messages to boost friends in need.

This move comes after Snapchat conducted research last year into how its members experience mental health.

“We found that an overwhelming majority of Snapchatters experience feelings of stress and anxiety and that their friends are the first people they turn to when they need help, more than professionals or even their parents,” Snap Inc. said in its announcement of the new program.

“They also see their friends as the most positive force in their lives — consistent with other studies that have shown that spending time with friends can be one of the most effective ways to combat feelings of loneliness and depression.”

Snapchat is launching a new feature it calls Snap Minis, third-party programs that are tucked inside the app’s chat section. Users will be able to quickly pull these up without having to switch apps, TechCrunch reported. Minis will be placed alongside games in a keyboard tab on users’ chat screens. When a user taps on a Mini’s icon, it’ll go full-screen.

Snap announced this on Thursday at its annual Partner Summit, which was held virtually instead of in person.

The Headspace Mini will be one of a handful of Minis available in the immediate future. Headspace, which was one of the first meditation apps on the market, now reaches more than 65 million users in 190 countries, the company says.

Through the Headspace Mini, Snapchatters will be able to do exercises with friends, or use new tools to send encouraging messages to friends.

Snapchat also announced that new original shows on its platform will help demystify mental health. Later this year, in a show titled “Coach Kev,” comedian Kevin Hart will share positivity and wisdom in a format designed for Snapchat’s audience.

In-app-reporting tools allow Snapchatters to alert the service if they worry their friends are at risk for self-harm. Snapchat said it will begin showing those Snapchatters how they can get connected with emergency services, message a counselor through Crisis Text Line, or talk live with someone at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

“As the platform that reaches 90% of 13-34 year olds and connects them with their close friends, Snapchat can play an important role in helping our community access preventative wellbeing tools, and resources when they or their friends are experiencing a mental health crisis,” Snapchat said.