Last night a good friend of mine sent me a like to an article on The Frisky regarding Instagram's new mental health support features. Much like the feature recently rolled out on Facebook that allows users to report concerning posts anonymously, it will cause a prompt to be sent to the person whose post was reported. This prompt encourages them to speak to friends, provides the person with contact details for local helplines, and even offers tips.
"Suicidal thoughts and calls for help or posts about starving oneself oddly find a home on social media. It’s only responsible for the platforms and users to have everyone else’s back." -Karen Fratti for The Frisky
What we have to understand is that we are living in an ever-changing world. Much of our lives now end up played out online. I've been both the person reading a concerning post, and the person making the concerning post. It's not unusual for people in dark places to lash out at those expressing concern for their well-being, and as such, it's incredibly useful for concerned friends to be able to report these posts anonymously.
It's also a comfort to know that when we're struggling and our mask slips, there is someone out there listening. How many times have you felt isolated and alone whilst going through a rough patch?
At the end of the day, as Karen Fratti and so many others have said, social media platforms do have a responsibility to their users. It's time for mental health support to come into line with the world we're creating, we need mental health charities to create a presence on social media, and we need platforms to be receptive to an increasingly apparent need for integrated, instant support.