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Instagram May Help Save Lives With Suicide Prevention Tool

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Instagram is definitely among the go-to social media platforms for sharing pictures and videos with a story, and discover other trends on a global scale. It is also a way for people to seek attention, harass others or ask for help.

Fortunately, the developers have created something to the app to help someone posting suicidal thoughts or having problems.

Instagram recently rolled out an update that aims to make the popular social media app a much safer place to dwell on, and hopefully save lives as needed.

The way this new update goes is when someone sees a worrisome post, the person behind the post will receive an auto-generated message stating, "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." Hereafter, the user can choose from a menu to receive help, contact support or chat with a friend.

A Similar Approach

Instagram's parent company, Facebook, previously unveiled a similar tool earlier last year that was only available in the United States and the UK and assigned a team to review reports, weeding out fake ones and flagging serious cases immediately.

Facebook then made the tool available to the rest of the world after communicating with several mental health organizations and support groups worldwide.

How It Works

Both prevention tools are similar to each other. Unlike Facebook though, Instagram's suicide prevention feature takes on a more hands-on approach as it actively reaches out to various people who are searching for suicide-related posts.

In line with this, Instagram updated its terms and conditions to block hashtags that can be considered as self-harm and the user will automatically receive the same pop-up support options. A number of hashtags has already been blocked by the developers and Instagram is continuously working on updating its list of terms.

"We understand friends and family often want to offer support but don't know how to reach out," Instagram's COO Marne Levine informed Seventeen.

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."

Instagram developers worked alongside The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Eating Disorders Association to create this new app feature.

According to statistics, suicidal rates in the United States are currently at its highest in 30 years with 45- to 64-year-old men and women taking the largest portion. However, Instagram is widely used consistently by the younger generation having 55 percent of its total online users within the age of 18 to 29 years old. This particular age group is more likely to attempt or think of suicide than those over 30 years old.

Photo: Sander van der Wel | Flickr

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