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How Instagram’s New Feature impacts Mental Health

Guest Author: Neha Lobana

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

Instagram has pulled out a game changing feature called #PerfectlyMe which heavily impacts the mental health community and could possibly save lives.
“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,” said Marne Levin the chief operating office in an interview with Seventeen Magazine.

The tool will redirect anyone searching for banned hashtags such as #thinspo #selfharm #cutting and many more. If an individual sees a post on Instagram relating to self harm or other types of mental health issues, they can anonymously report it. In return, the user who posted the image will receive an alert saying “Someone saw one of your posts and thin you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help”. The message also includes resources and helpline numbers.

This new feature can tremendously help as it allows those who would like to be supportive but don’t know how a gateway to helping those who they know may be going through a difficult time. On top of that, the feature can save lives and can be a game changer for those suffering from mental illnesses.

Specifically targeting students, in 2015, the National College Health Assessment conducted a study and as a result, the statistics show that 60 percent of students reported feeling “very sad”. Whereas, more than 30 percent “felt so depressed that it was difficult to function”.

As a result, Instagram has partnered with over 40 organizations including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and National Eating Disorders Association to help bring mental health awareness onto the popular app.

At the moment, the feature is currently only available in the United States, but within time, it should be available worldwide.

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