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Instagram unveils new feature to support those with mental health problems

By Megan Rose

Instagram has launched a new tool specifically designed to help those who may be suffering from poor mental health.

Social media is becoming an increasingly popular platform to document our day-to-day challenges, and mental health problems are no exception. The popular social networking platform said the introduction of the new reporting tool would hopefully help ‘save lives’ by allowing other users to anonymously report things they may identify as a call for help.

After a particular post has been flagged, Instagram review the report and decide whether it is a genuine cause for concern, such as a suicide or self-harm threat. If they agree it is, the user is shown a support page which states ‘Can we help? If you’re going through a difficult time and want support, we’d like to help.’

The user is then offered prompts to either seek help from a friend, contact a helpline or receive tips and support.

Instagram stated they’re working with 40 organisations around the world, such as Samaritans and the National Eating Disorders Association, in order to ensure individuals receive expert advice in their time of need.

Marne Levine, Instagram’s chief operating officer, said the company had consulted mental health experts, charities and real people who had suffered from mental health ailments before introducing the feature. She added: ‘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.’

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