Posts concerning self-harm and suicide have become increasingly common on social media sites in recent years. Occasionally, such posts get written off as attempts to get attention, but for many, social media seems to serve as the last chance of finding someone to talk to in this lonely world of ours.
Facebook recently undertook methods to combat users who wish to take their lives, and now Instagram has announced similar plans.
Users can now report such posts anonymously to a team of workers, who in turn can contact a user if they suspect a serious threat. Users will then receive a post saying “Can we help?” with a message reading, “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.”
Realizing that different situations can have different needs, the original poster would have three options: “Talk to a friend,” “Contact a helpline” and “Get tips and support.”
“We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review these reports,” said Instagram spokeswoman Marni Tomljanovic in a released statement.
“They prioritize the most serious reports and respond quickly. If someone on Instagram sees a direct threat of suicide or self-injury, we encourage them to contact local emergency services immediately…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.”
According to reports, the move have been extended to Asia and Australia. This follow’s Instagram’s recently added tools that ban offensive comments.