Instagram makes strides towards mental health support and awareness

Instagram app
Instagram app (Image credit: Instagram)

When it comes to social media and mental health, things can get a bit tricky.

Some may swear that apps like Instagram keep them connected and grounded in the real world, yet social media's toxic side effects are shown to take their toll over and over and over again within the realms of mental health.

With mental health awareness on the rise, Instagram has recognized that there should be a better way to reach out and help people who really need it – even if it's just through your iPhone screen.

Instagram users can now anonymously flag a photo if they believe someone they're following needs some love and support. It's like reaching out with a digital blanket and cup of hot cocoa, except users 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.

People will then be given the option to talk to a friend, find information on how to get some counseling and support online, or call a local hotline to talk for a bit. The phrasing is consistent with the type of talk used by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Eating Disorders Association. Instagram made sure they were using the proper sensitive language and terminology.

In fact, Instagram has already done a great job in combating content that promotes and glamorizes self-injury. Words like #thinspo don't appear at all on the app, but words like #ana (short for anorexia) will prompt a response that reads:

Can we help? Posts with words or tags you're searching for often encourage behavior that can cause harm and even lead to death. If you're geoing through something difficult, we'd like to help.

Mental health is something that is just being highlighted in the media recently, and it's up to us as caring human beings to reach out to one another – even if it's through a social media platform like Instagram.

Cella Lao Rousseau

Cella writes for iMore on social and photography. She's a true crime enthusiast, bestselling horror author, lipstick collector, buzzkill, and Sicilian. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @hellorousseau