Now that my blog has quieted down after that Karaoke fiasco last week, I can go back to blogging things that I do care about: as it has always been with this blog, my main cause is to support mental health awareness and hopefully, find ways to lessen that stigma associated with it.
Fact: The World Health Organization estimates that 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression at any given time, so it’s likely that anyone from your own circle of friends and family could be suffering from it.
Fact: Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide — and contributes to a lot of global burdens.
Fact: More women are affected by this disease than men, but it is equally jarring for both genders. At its worst, depression can lead to death and suicide.
As it is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, Instagram is doing its share to lessen the stigma and help those who are dealing not only with depression, but with mental illness in general.
A new feature from the app allows users to flag a photo when they think tht someone needs help. Once a photo is flagged, the person who posted it will receive a message that reads:
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.
The list is followed by a list of available resources, along with a helpline as a way for the company to make a difference for those struggling with mental illnesses.
Instagram is also working with other organizations to create helpful, non-invasive messages for those who are suffering from mental illness. Chief Operating Officer Marne Levine told Seventeen magazine, “We listen to mental health experts when they tell us that outreach from a loved one can make a real difference for those who may be in distress. At the same time, we understand friends and family often want to offer support but don’t know how best to reach out.”
Levine also added that the tools are designed to let people know that they are surrounded by a community that cares about them, especially when they need reminders the most.
The latest feature is the latest that the app released to keep the platform safe in the otherwise toxic cyberspace. Users are also able to filter comments or turn them off, and images that involves self-injury in any way has no room in the app. Even search terms like “self-harm” and “thigh gap” and “thinspiration” have been banned in an effort to keep Instagram as safe as possible.
The new safety feature is currently rolling and right now, it’s only available in the United States. However, multiple reports say that it will expand globally soon. I hope soon is soon enough.