Among all the food porn, chia puddings, fitness selfies, and beautiful interiors, is a much darker side to Instagram.
Most people scrolling through their favourite celebrities and food bloggers might not notice the 65,000 posts about self harm, and the 8,788,288 posts with the hashtag #depressed.
With their huge platform being used to glamorise mental health issues, Instagram are introducing a feature which allows users to flag up posts of other Instagramers that might be in need of mental health support.
I'm never fucking good enough… ☠️? #depressed #deperssion #anorexi #canteat #wonteat #nofood #foodisbad #needtobeskinny #havetobeskinny #willbeskinny #needtobethin #havetobethin #willbethin #losingweight #done #unwanted #inscure #invisible #losthope #welcometohell #nevergoodenough #anixety #empty #emptyness #losingmymind #numb #fuckmylife #fourgotten #leftbehind #sucidal
The photo-sharing app has an option for anonymously reporting a post, which then sends a message to the person in concern saying:
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.
There will be a series of options for the user to access including ‘talk to a mate’, numbers for local support helplines, and information on how to seek out advice.
The same message will appear if you search for concerning hashtags, so considering one in six people in the UK have experienced a common mental health problem, this support is likely to touch many lives.
Instagram’s COO Marne Levine said:
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.
The company has been working closely with organisations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Eating Disorder Association to ensure that the support is appropriate and useful.
If you are in need of mental health support, get in touch with Mind or call their helpline on 0300 123 3393.