Instagram has a new tool to stop self-harm and suicide

Instagram now provides resources to people struggling with depression and destructive behavior.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Instagram isn't just about posting pictures and videos anymore, it's now working to save lives.

The photo-sharing app added a new feature this week that allows users to anonymously report posts that may be related to self-harm or suicide.

So if you see a friend or anyone in your Instagram feed post something that worries you – maybe a post suggests they're struggling with an eating disorder, hurting themselves or considering suicide – you can tap the three little dots above the post and click "Report."

You'll then select the option that says you're reporting the post because "It's Inappropriate," and from there you'll be able to choose the "Self Injury" category.

According to TechCrunch the reported person will 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.”

From there, people will be provided with a list of support options: to message or call a friend, get tips and support, or contact a helpline.

TechCrunch says 40 organizations worldwide have partnered to be involved with the helpline. And people will be connected to a helpline based on where they are located.

"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," Marne Levine, Instagram COO, told CNN Money.

And Instagram doesn't just offer help to reported posts. If a person searches a concerning hashtag, the user will get a message asking if the person needs help.

Last year, Facebook – which is Instagram's parent company – launched a very similar tool.

Facebook has more resources here.

Social media and depression

A study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study and found that there is a correlation between social media us and your mood, Forbes reported earlier this year. It found that people who use social media more are more likely to be depressed.

One possible explanation is that people tend to post their best selves to social media and scrolling through “highly idealized representations of peers on social media" can make people feel like others are living happier and more successful lives.

And there's also the risk of cyber bullying.

Various social media platforms have already done things to discourage self-destructive behavior. Instagram previously banned the hashtag "thinspo" which may glorify eating disorders. Pinterest and Tumblr have also done similar things.

DoSomeThing.org says nearly 43 percent of kids have been bullied online. And 90 percent of teens say they've seen cyberbullying online but didn't do anything about it.

The organization says bullying victims are up to nine times more likely to consider committing suicide.

Last year, the suicide rate for adults in Minnesota was the highest on record. The Minnesota Department of Health says 726 people died by suicide in 2015 – so the rate was 13.1 per 100,000 people. Previously, the highest rate had been 13. That was set back in 1986.

If you're concerned about someone

  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Do not leave the person alone.
  • Remove firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

Next Up

ballot voting vote

Appeals court changes rules for MN absentee ballots received after Election Day

Pending a further challenge, votes received after 8 p.m. on Election Day may not be counted.

Donald Trump

Confusion over where Trump campaign rally will be held Friday

It sounds like it'll be held at the airport in Rochester.

Screen Shot 2020-10-29 at 3.19.05 PM

This video of the Lowry Hill Tunnel walls being cleaned is oddly satisfying

The tunnel will be closed overnight Thursday for cleaning.

gray wolf

Gray wolf removed from the endangered species list

A decision on whether they can be hunted in Minnesota will come later.

covid saliva test

Minnesota opening its 7th saliva testing location in St. Paul

The tests are free and open to anyone regardless of if they have symptoms.

pete stauber - qunn nystrom CD8

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 8th Congressional District

It's a race between incumbent Rep. Pete Stauber and Democratic challenger Quinn Nystrom.

fire, flames

Lives saved as passerby, city workers rescue from 3 from Golden Valley fire

The Golden Valley Fire Department responded to the fire Wednesday morning.

Caribou Coffee Holiday 2020

Caribou Coffee rolls out holiday cups, menu early

The holiday season is underway at some Twin Cities stores, with a nationwide rollout planned for Nov. 5.

Malik Beasley

Charges: Timberwolves' Beasley pointed assault rifle at family on a home tour

The family was on the Parade of Homes tour when Beasley allegedly pointed the gun at them, telling them to get off his property.

Related

St. Louis Park is getting a heart attack app, it finds nearby CPR-trained volunteers

Sometimes a trained volunteer can get there quicker than an ambulance.

Instagram will make it easier to see if a post is a paid promotion

Instagram influencers got a warning earlier for not being clear about what they were getting paid to post.

Snapchat copycat: Instagram has face filters now too

Instagram just keeps closing the gap with Snapchat.

Snapchat copycat: Instagram has face filters now too

Instagram just keeps closing the gap with Snapchat.

Artificial intelligence isn't smart enough to stop hate speech yet, Facebook says

How do you sort out hate speech from say, satire? Or self-deprecating jokes?

Instagram is getting more Snapchat-y again

Want Instagram to be more like Snapchat? Well, good news.