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Friday, October 21, 2016

New Instagram Tool Offers Mental Health Support

Social media can be a great space for support but it can also fan the flames of many mental health issues, including body image and eating disorders. In fact, despite efforts by Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, sites continue to crop up touting anorexia or bulimia – referring to these pathologies as “ana” and “mia,” for short. 

Instagram has taken great strides to combat this trend and even created an official policy that bans images or hashtags (like #thinspo, short for the pro-anorexia phrase “thinspiration”) promoting self-harm. Recently, the social media company took it a step further by creating a tool that addresses these cries for help. 

Developed in coordination with the National Eating Disorders Association and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the tool allows users to anonymously flag posts about self-harm or other mental health issues. The user who posted the troubling image will then receive this message: "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." In addition, the user will be given options to contact a helpline, talk to a friend, or get tips. 

"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," Instagram COO Marne Levine told Seventeen

"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."

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If you or someone you love is battling a mental health issue and substance use disorder, Complete Harmony can help. To learn more about our dual-diagnosis treatment, call: 866-930-4673.

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