Social media giant Instagram is stepping up its game in the name of mental health. The Facebook-owned image sharing tool has launched a new feature that allows users to anonymously flag self-harm content. Because the truth is, while many of us may have a feed that’s lighthearted, full of pictures of our friends’ dogs doing adorable things and food pics galore, other users are experiencing a very real, and very serious side of of their friends’ or acquaintances’ struggles with mental illness: self harm and suicide.
Instagram’s new feature enables users to extend a helping hand when they might not know what to do otherwise. It’s nearly identical to what parent company Facebook uses. When someone’s content is flagged as containing potential suggestions of self-harm, Instagram is notified and the app sends this message to the user in question: 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.
From there, the user can click through for support that ranges from encouragement to call a friend, to contact a suicide prevention helpline in their area or information on ways to support yourself. Currently, Instagram has 40 different organizations from around the globe lending their expertise to this new initiative. That’s the kind of support we like to see.
This is just another proactive step that Instagram is taking in the fight against content that indicates self harm or is abusive and bullying in nature. Earlier this fall, the social sharing platform rolled out filtered comments, putting the power back into users’ hands.
Instagram knows that, when it comes to thoughts leading to self harm and even suicide, nobody should have to go it alone. For that, we applaud them.