Ruthie Hawkins, BlackDoctor.org Contributor
Instagram, arguably social media’s leading media sharing service, tackles mental healthnwith the swipe of a finger. That’s right, according to the ‘Gram, a new feature will allow users to anonymously flag a photo in the event they think someone needs help.
Once the image is flagged, the individual will receive a message prompting them to select an “option” to get help such as contacting a helpline — which will vary by the user’s location. “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,” a message will read.
As for how Instagram plans to execute, according to reports, they’ve partnered with organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to create effective, rather than invasive, messages – instrumental to the success of the tool.
“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. At the same time, we understand friends and family often want to offer support but don’t know how best to reach out,” Instagram’s Chief Operating Officer Marne Levine told Seventeen Magazine. “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.”
Additionally, users searching for a hashtag associated with self-harm will be directed to a support page. Though most dangerous hashtags have been banned, for those that are circulating, support options will be available.
The news goes hand-in-hand with Instagram’s announcement that they’ve partnered with Seventeen to launch National Body Confidence Day (Oct. 17) — aka #PerfectlyMe — highlighting “young women and men from the Instagram community who are rocking their self-confidence and embracing their own uniqueness,” the mag reads.
“#PerfectlyMe is a celebration of strength,” Levine says. “It’s about the strength of the support networks that we have seen grow steadily across Instagram, and the strength of individuals in these communities who are redefining beauty standards and building a culture of positivity.”
Though we seldom applaud the next big social media tool (as it seems like a new one drops every day), Instagram’s move to tackle mental health in such a capacity is definitely a game-changer! In addition to opening doors for entrepreneurs, and providing a space for people to connect across the globe, Instagram will likely soon be able to add “save lives” to their growing list of accomplishments!
In the meantime, for those in need of immediate help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-8255. Although life may seem dark and dim right now, always remember, there’s a rainbow at the end of every storm.