Mental health is a tricky, taboo subject for many people. It affects not only the people who are afflicted with mental health issues, but it also affects those with loved ones who suffer from them. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly one in five adults in the U.S. experience some sort of mental illness in a given year.
To break this taboo, major social media platforms are taking steps to help. Instagram recently rolled out a new feature to offer support for its users who are going through a difficult time, but don’t know where to turn to for help.
This new feature allows users to anonymously notify Instagram of any posts that show signs of possible self-harm. Instagram then sends a message to that person offering different options to get help, with them receiving an initial 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.”
From there, Instagram will direct the user to a page with options that can be accessed directly through the app. These options include talking to a friend, contacting a helpline, and getting tips and support.
“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,” Instagram chief operating officer Marne Levine told Seventeen Magazine.
Users will be directed to that same support page if they search for hashtags associated with self-harm. For example, Instagram has already banned hashtags such as “#thinspo,” a term that has been associated with glorifying eating disorders.