Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Snapchat and Twilio are both announcing new efforts Monday to provide support for people affected by domestic violence and mental health concerns in response to a swell in demand during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Why it matters: Online services and crisis lines are being asked to shoulder a greater share of the burden of responding to people's needs at a moment when other types of direct service are harder to access.

  • Snapchat is partnering with the National Network to End Domestic Violence to include more resources for users dealing with domestic violence as well as those who want to support a friend who is in such a situation. The resources, part of Snapchat's broader Here For You initiative, will also be available in subtitles for those who don’t feel comfortable or safe viewing content with the sound on.
  • Twilio is announcing $2 million in cash grants for organizations that are provide support services during the pandemic via voice, text or chat. The new program builds on past grants the company has made to crisis hotlines.

Twilio, a digital phone services provider whose tech powers many of the nation's crisis hotlines, said it has seen usage by such services increase 20% since the pandemic began, with volume more than doubling at some hotlines, such as Crisis Text Line.

What they're saying:

  • Snapchat's VP of public policy Jen Stout: “Nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of our community. We hope these new resources will give Snapchatters and their loved ones the help and support they need to stay both physically and emotionally safe while following shelter in place and other public health guidelines.”
  • Twilio chief social impact officer Erin Reilly: "The additional impact on people from COVID, such as depression, abuse and hunger, are significant. We want to help the organizations on the front line. The people who are providing crisis support on these hotlines are some of the unsung heroes of this pandemic.”

Go deeper

Aug 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus forces rethinking of safety net for working women

Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for working women, but one prominent women's policy expert says it could provide a new opportunity to create the kinds of social supports they should have had all along.

Driving the news: In an interview with "Axios on HBO," Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, said the pandemic has created a "she-cession" — a loss of jobs that has disproportionately affected women and highlighted the gaps in the safety net for working families.

Updated Sep 18, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Though health workers represent less than 3% of the population in many countries, they account for around 14% of the coronavirus cases reported to the World Health Organization, WHO announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The WHO called on governments and health care leaders to address threats facing the health and safety of these workers, adding that the pandemic has highlighted how protecting them is needed to ensure a functioning health care system.

MyPillow CEO defends promoting unproven COVID-19 "cure"

CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday clashed with MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell, a Trump supporter, for promoting oleandrin, an unproven therapeutic treatment for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Lindell and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson both have financial stakes in the company that develops oleandrin and would profit if the treatment is sold widely. It's part of a pattern in which entrepreneurs, often without rigorous vetting, push unproven products to Trump — knowing their sales pitches might catch his eye, Axios's Jonathan Swan writes.