Pin It
Illustration Javier Sola

A new Instagram feature looks out for your mental health

If you’re worried about something someone has posted and what it could mean for their wellbeing, IG can help out

TextAnna CafollaIllustrationJavier Sola

Instagram is a platform for tagging your mates in an endless stream of relatable memes, posting pics of your coffee cup and checking up on where the hell you were last night. You can craft your best life, and it might not look much like actual reality.

Though it might seem like a platform that could only facilitate vanity, the image-sharing app could actually help save some lives with their newest feature, as it helps users flag up when they think a fellow IGer needs some support for their mental health. The latest update allows users to anonymously flag a post they think is concerning, whether it’s a direct cry for help or it alludes to someone having a really tough time.

A message will be sent to the person that says: “Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help”. Then a series of options for support will be offered to the user: the opportunity to talk to a friend, numbers for local support helplines and info on how to seek out advice for mental health.

The social media platform worked with organisations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Eating Disorder Association, to ensure the support pop-up’s wording was appropriate. 

Instagram will also offer the same helpful page when anyone searches for hashtags like #selfharm. IG had previously banned search terms such as ‘thigh gap’ and ‘thinspiration’ to eradicate pro-anorexia on the site.

IG’s CEP Marne Levine said: ‘These tools are designed to let you know that you are surrounded by a community that cares about you, at a moment when you might most need that reminder.”

The new feature is currently available in the U.S, but should be released globally soon.

If you or someone you know feels suicidal, depressed or a sense of despair, please call Samaritans for helpful, non-judgemental advice and support on 116 123 (UK) 

H/T Pedestrian