Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
You wouldn’t normally associate a social app famous for selfies with saving lives. But that could be one of the more substantial roles for Instagram and you going forward.
A new support option in Instagram enables you to report a friend’s suicidal tendencies anonymously. Social media is often an early warning system for negative behavior and troubling mental issues. If you spot a post that hints at self-harm, step up and report the post.
- Tap the three dots on top of a post (…).
- Tap Report.
- Select It’s Inappropriate > Self injury
That user will get an anonymous message that says:
“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.”
Try searching for hashtags like #selfinjury and #eating disorders. You will be interrupted by the message below. Instagram Help explains them on its Self-Injury page. There are other support tools available through the app like hotline numbers and support resources.
Instagram chief operating officer Marne Levine told Seventeen.com:
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.
This simple intervention can save lives. Of course, you can be more proactive and call 911 or local law enforcement for help too. Reporting an Instagram post for suicide or self-injury is anonymous and direct.
Social media is often the weapon of choice for cyberbullying and online harassment. This update is a tiny step in the right direction. Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, also has its own tool for suicide-prevention. Now, a bit of awareness can go a long way.
Help spread the word. Don’t hesitate to act on warning signs. You could make a difference.