If a friend is having a hard time or even in danger of hurting themselves, sometimes the first warning signs appear in social media. Instagram can now help you intervene anonymously with some new support options. If you report a post that worries you, your friend will get a message 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." They'll then get the option to talk to a friend, contact a helpline or receive tips and support.
"We understand friends and family often want to offer support but don't know how best to reach out," Instagram COO Marne Levine told Seventeen. "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." Instagram parent Facebook unveiled its own suicide-prevention tools earlier this year, and has a team that reviews reports to flag serious cases and weed out false reports.
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.
To craft the feature's language, Instagram collaborated with folks who've experienced eating disorders or self harm issues, and worked with the National Eating Disorders Association and The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. "We listen to mental health experts when they tell us that outreach from a loved one can make a real difference for those who may be in distress," Levine said.
However, mental health experts feel that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social networks cause social pressure that can make users, especially teens, sleepless, anxious and depressed. And while it's admirable that Facebook, Instagram and others have tools to help troubled users, they still haven't properly dealt with the bullying and harassment at the root of many problems.
For those in crisis and in need of immediate help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-8255. UK users can visit the Samaritans website or call 116 123. You're not alone.