Instagram and Mental Health

By Jessica Oswald

Instagram is taking a whole new stance on Mental Health. They have recently introduced a new anonymous reporting feature for users who might be suffering from mental health issues. The new feature works like this: if a user sees a picture on their feed that they feel might lead to self-harm or even suicide, the user can anonymously report the user who posted the picture and Instagram will send the user a message, asking if they are all right and direct them to a number of hotlines they can call or tips they can use to help themselves.

In an article by wired.com, Instagram told seventeen Magazine, “We listen to

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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. 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 tool also helps block certain hashtags that might have content that deals with self-harm. After the page is blocked it will direct the user to the support page which will give the user a number of options such as “Talk to a friend” or “contact a hotline.” This will further help any user who might be struggling with any mental health issues.

Facebook, who owns Instagram, also has a Suicide Prevention Tool. Although this tool is only in the UK, there have been trials in the US and Australia. Twitter also had a mental health tool, that let users report “worrying tweets” to help their loved ones but unfortunately the tool was pulled.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism