Instagram Aims to Prevent Suicide and Self-Harm with New Tool

October 27, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The Wall Street Journal

Instagram has rolled out a tool designed to prevent suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders, which allows users of the social media app to anonymously report posts that appear to demonstrate the warning signs of suicide or forms of self-injury. Teams of experts will review the reports, generating responses according to the seriousness of their content. Posts that are deemed a concern will prompt 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.” The message will also offer the options of talking to a friend, contacting a helpline, or getting tips and support. Instagram has consulted and partnered with dozens of organizations that specialize in the prevention of self-harm, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the National Eating Disorders Association, SAVE, and Samaritans. “We also consulted with people with real-life experience with eating disorders, self-injury, or suicide,” said Instagram spokesperson Marni Tomljanovic. “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.”

Spark Extra! Read about the warning signs for suicide.