Instagram has updated tools that help support people in India, who struggle with self-injury or suicidal thoughts. The tool can be used by their concerned friends and family as well to post something on Instagram that makes them concerned about their well-being. Instagram, in turn, will send the person ways to get help, in case they appear at risk. Instagram will give options such as reaching out to a friend, contacting a helpline, or tips and support. Instagram says it has partnerships with over 40 helpline organisations around the world, including AASRA and The Live Love Laugh Foundation in India.
Instagram has launched local “Can We Help” resources in the UK, US and Canada to help users with eating disorders. Elsewhere, users will be directed to general self-injury/crisis services. According to Instagram, over 40 organisations provide local crisis services to those in need. “We also consulted with people with real-life experience with eating disorders, self-injury or suicide,” said Instagram in a statement. The photo sharing app has taken inputs from The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.org (US), Samaritans (UK), and beyondblue and headspace (Australia) as well.
How the Instagram tool works
If a user sees a direct threat of suicide or self-injury, Instagram gives them options to reach out to the friend they are concerned about, see information about how to support the person, and to report any troubling content to them. Instagram teams review these reports and prioritise the most serious reports to respond quickly. Additionally, when people search for hashtags associated with self-injury such as #imnotok, Instagram offers support options even before users view the content.