Our mates at Instagram do a pretty good job at acting on feedback dished out by us, the user; they acted on our whinging over the lack of a zoom function, instating just that for optimum creeping, and recently added a muchos convenient drafts feature.

As much as we love them for facilitating our vanity, at the end of the day it’s all just surface stuff – which is why its latest feature, which lets you flag a mates’ cry for a help, is so great.

Users can now (anonymously) report a concerning post, prompting a message to the poster 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 app then gently suggests means of support accessible, such as talking to a friend, contacting a local helpline or seeking mental health advice.

Perhaps most importantly of all is that, if you or anyone you know were to search for hashtags associated with images of self harm, the same ‘Can we help?’ page pops up.

Here’s what it looks like:

Instagram even went a step further to ensure the wording of responses people are sent is appropriate, working closely with organisations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Eating Disorder Association.

When you consider three out of four Aussies with a mental illness report they’ve experienced stigma, especially in the workplace, it’s an important – albeit small step – towards letting people in need know that there *is* support out there.

According to IG COO Marne Levine, “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.”
  

The feature’s been rolled out here in Australia – check it out.


Photo: College Humor.


If you or someone you love are struggling with issues related to mental health, contact the friendly people at Lifeline to speak to someone one-on-one – it’s available 24/7 – on 13 11 14.