Instagram rolled out an update that introduces a new tool aimed to prevent suicide by providing a means for followers to reach out to users who appear to be troubled based on their posts.
Aside from being a source of information and entertainment, the social media provided people with an avenue to express themselves to the world. It provided a means for them to share their happiness and success as well as messages or statuses — albeit vague and cryptic ones — that reveal what they truly feel.
Suicide On Instagram
Instagram, a photo sharing social media platform, has become one of the most used avenues for people to share images that showcase their life or how they feel at that very moment.
But aside from the good things we see in the platform, Instagram has also become one of the most popular social media used to leave hints about suicidal tendencies and severe depression that can push someone to take his own life.
In fact, there had been several cases where Instagram users, both regular people and celebrities like professional boxer Adrien Broner, leave suicide notes in the social media platform.
Broner recently shared cryptic photos that may have been clues about his suicide attempt.
On Wednesday last week, Broner started posting his photo messages over Instagram that begins with this one:
While that may appear quite optimistic at first, his next posts gradually become more disturbing.
“3PM I’m doing it I’m sorry to my family and friends but I don’t want to be here no more this sh*t too much”
Fears for his safety escalated after he posted a photo of a gun with a disturbingly peaceful caption.
“I’m going home I love y’all.”
For over an hour since the photo was posted, no one was able to verify Broner’s safety until his fiancee was finally able to find him, safe and sound, per TMZ.
Because of instances like this, Instagram decided to introduce a new tool to help prevent suicide by providing a means for support for the social media users.
The Instagram Suicide Prevention Tool
Speaking to Seventeen, Instagram Chief Operating Officer Marne Levine explained how they came up with the social media tool that not only allows other users to reach out to those who appear to be troubled, but also to detect whether a user is in a dark place.
“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.”
— PSHSCOUNSELING (@PSHSCOUNSELING) October 20, 2016
Instagram’s suicide prevention tool works to provide easy access to help and support for users who show signs of suicidal tendencies or any other form of self-harm.
According to Levine, they talked to experts about mental health and learned that people who are under a lot of stress may have more chance of coping with whatever they are going through if loved ones reach out to them.
“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.”
Aside from Instagram, working behind the new tool are organizations that provide help for troubled people including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and National Eating Disorders Association.
The company also sought data from actual people who suffer from eating disorders and suicidal tendencies which makes the tool more effective in reaching out to those who are suffering from some sort of emotional distress.
Aside from the tool, Instagram also launched a National Body Confidence Day hashtag event called #PerfectlyMe.
“#PerfectlyMe is a celebration of strength. It’s about the strength of the support networks that we have seen grow steadily across Instagram, and the strength of individuals in these communities who are redefining beauty standards and building a culture of positivity.”