YouTube’s looking to help connect more users to mental health assistance by expanding the presence of its crisis resource panels, which provide contact info on mental health providers, within the app.
As explained by YouTube:
“Previously, our crisis resource panels only appeared in search results. We’re now expanding them to show on the Watch Page as well, right under the video title.”
As you can see in the above example, now, when users are viewing content related to mental health concerns, YouTube will showcase relevant contact info front and center, providing more exposure for these critical resources, which may help to connect more people in need.
“The Watch Page is where people spend most of their time on YouTube, which means a big increase in the visibility of these messages. The panels appear on the Watch Page below videos whose content is about suicide and self-harm, delivering a powerful combination of educational and emotionally resonant content alongside prompts to take action if needed.”
YouTube says that it’s also updated the language of these alerts, in order to better communicate that such services are both free and available 24/7, with a view to getting more people in need to connect.
In addition to this, YouTube’s also expanding the range of topics that display crisis resources in YouTube search results, with depression, sexual assault, substance abuse and eating disorder content to now also feature these alerts and prompts, in addition to suicide and self-harm content.
Amid the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the surrounding fear related to the virus and its spread, one of the most significant impacts has been on mental health, with many people left alone, and unable to rely on their regular support networks to break them out of dangerous cycles.
That’s been particularly significant for sufferers of anxiety, with the Kaiser Family Foundation reporting that around 4 in 10 adults in the US have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder during the pandemic.
Which is why YouTube’s looking to do more to help, and while it still requires users taking that next step, and actively seeking assistance, providing more access and information can only be of benefit in connecting people to such resources, especially when these alerts are shown on platforms where they’re likely already searching for related info and insight.
YouTube’s new info panels are being rolled out in the US over the coming weeks, with a broader global expansion to follow.