Instagram Rolls Out New Self-Harm Prevention Tool That Allows Users To Help Friends In Need

18 October 2016, 2:11 pm EDT By Lauren Keating Tech Times
Instagram began rolling out a new tool that allows users to report friends who may be in need of help, which could help save lives.  ( Instagram/Seventeen )

Even though we follow people and accounts run by those we don't necessarily know but are fans of like celebrities, models, makeup artists and brands, Instagram is the social media network where we can check up on the fabulous lives of our friends.

And while many people choose Instagram as the place where they only share the best of their best selfies and other photos, many might just be posting an internet version of their lives. There are times when they might post a quote with some darker meaning or caption a photo that reveals that they are struggling or having a seriously hard time at the moment.

If this type of post comes up in users' feeds, friends can now be more proactive to help their friend in need.

Instagram quietly rolled out a new feature on Monday, Oct. 16 that may potentially help save lives.

The social media app is now allowing users to report posts by friends that them worried about their friends' well-being.

The feature serves as a self-harm prevention tool since Instagram will be immediately contacted after a post is flagged and will reach out to that user.

Instagram will send that user a message informing them that someone saw the post and is concerned. It then goes on to tell the user they are not alone, and that if they are going through a difficult time, it can help. The troubled user can then tap on "See Support Resources," which takes them to a new screen with different help options like messaging a friend, contacting a help line, or getting tips and support.

This can be especially helpful for those users who may be thinking about harming themselves, contemplating suicide or battling depression or an eating disorder. The user may find some relief in knowing that someone cares about them or may be reminded that help is only a tap away if they are in need.

And with the amount of bullying that happens online and on social media, having this tool at users' fingertips could really make a difference to those who are on the edge of going down a dark path.

Instagram has taken matters into its own hands to provide a safe space for users by banning potentially harmful hashtags such as #thinspo. Instead, the company has teamed up with Seventeen magazine to launch a new campaign using the hashtag #PerfectlyMe to promote body confidence.

Certain hashtags that are related to self-harm will also bring up the support option for users when they try to search for these types of posts.

Now users can help their friends who are going through a tough time without coming off confrontational, and those in need can remember that there are people out there that care and be presented with ways to find support.

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