In this time and age, it is known that depression is on the rise, especially among teenagers and young adults. Most of the time, when someone is having a hard time or in danger of hurting themselves, the first warning signs usually appear on social media platforms. Instagram is a fast growing social media platform and a lot of individuals use it as a place to vent their problems and frustrations. Instagram has now added some new important tools to its platform, where it allows you to anonymously report posts which show signs of cries for help.
Here is how this new feature works, if you are scrolling through your Instagram feed and you come upon a post which worries you, you will be able to report it. Once that is done, your friend will receive a message from Instagram saying, “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.” Your friend will then be able to see support resources, or skip it. If they do select support resources, a few options will appear, which include talking to a friend, contact a helpline, or get tips and support. Users will be led to that same support page if they search for a hashtag associated with self-injury. Instagram’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Marine Levine, told Seventeen that Instagram understands that friends and family often want to offer support, but don’t know the best way to reach out. These new tools are designed to let people in trouble know that they are surrounded by a community that cares about them, at a moment when they might most need that reminder.
To come up with the suitable language for the prompts, Instagram worked with mental health experts and groups which have experienced eating disorders or self harm issues. Instagram also collaborated with National Eating Disorders Association and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Mr. Levine stated that mental health experts have told them that outreach from a loved one can make a real difference for those in distress. Facebook, which is the parent company of Instagram, came out with a suicide prevention tool earlier this year. It also has a team which reviews reports to determine serious cases and false ones. We’re still not sure if this option is coming to both iOS and Android, though the source did share a picture of it from an iPhone, which more or less confirms that it is landing on iOS. We’re waiting for Instagram to release more information about this.