The social network said the filter acts as an invitation for close connections who may be struggling to reach out for support via the messaging application.
Facebook also released a Let’s Talk sticker pack for Messenger, with 16 stickers that can be used to take the place of words when they are hard to come by.
Every time one of those stickers is sent, Facebook will donate $1, up to $1 million, to a group of mental health organizations: Caritas (Hong Kong), Crisis Text Line, It’s OK to Talk (Sangath), The Jed Foundation, The Live Love Laugh Foundation, ReachOut (Australia), Save, The Trevor Project, Vibrant Emotional Health and Youthline.
Messenger recently conducted a study in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, and it found that messaging can make it easier for people to talk about emotional or serious subjects, such as mental health, as people felt that they could take their time responding and be more open than they could during in-person conversations.
Facebook said 80% of people who use messaging apps feel like they can be completely honest when connecting with people via those apps, and more than one-half said messaging has brought them closer to friends and family.
The social network added that over 2.5 million people in the U.S., U.K. and Australia are members of at least one of the 7,000 groups on Facebook dedicated to supporting people with mental health issues.
Facebook said in a Newsroom post, “Showing that you’re available to help a friend is the first step, but what should you do next? According to mental health experts, it’s important to show that you care and are really listening. Express your concern, allow them to open up and help them find resources. Facebook offers some resources through our safety and well-being center. You can also find support there for yourself if you are struggling.”