The potential for anonymity online can be a double edged sword – there’s a wealth of knowledge for those who need to be judgement-free when exploring new personally educational territory. Similarly though, those who are in desperate need of a helping hand can fall dangerously into a virtual abyss. If there are some traces of personal isolation populating someone’s social media, action can now thankfully be taken.
Today, Instagram is launching a new tool to help support sufferers of mental health and self-harm issues with the creation of support 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 chief operating officer Marne Levine explained to Seventeen.
The platform has now integrated an anonymous reporting tool so that any user who notices something on a page that would ordinarily raise alarm bells, they can do so. Once a user is reported, they’ll receive a 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.”
The user will then be led to a page that suggests options of support, like calling a local support line or speaking to friends, all in language approved by mental health support groups.
The social safety net is doubled by the fact that the same support page will appear for any users in the platform that search for self-harm related hashtags.
“These tools are designed to let you know that you are surrounded by a community that cares about you,” Marne continues, “at a moment when you might most need that reminder.”