Social media has provided a lot of social movement in recent years. Trending hashtags have provided the world insight to real events, real experiences, and real people which might not otherwise have ever been news. Bringing awareness and connecting others was always the main purpose behind social media. However, social media can also bring people together in the worst of ways. For example, links to the dark web for illicit drug sales, pro-eating disorders groups, advocates for self-harm, and more.
One of the leading social media platforms, Instagram, has fallen under scrutiny for its inability to regulate trending hashtags and keep track of harmful material. Additionally, much research has been dedicated to investigating the effect of social media use on mental health. Most often, social media use is connected to higher rates of depression and low self-esteem. Problematically, what is depicted on social media might not always be accurate for what is happening in real life. Reversing that issue is what can bring mental health awareness to life on social media in addition to a safe community.
Recently, Instagram has taken initiatives to fight for and protect users who might be struggling with mental health issues. When someone creates a post that is particularly ominous, which might specifically indicate a threat of suicide or severe depression, Instagram’s algorithms pick up on it. Immediately sending the user a message, the platform provides a link for help to directly call a helpline and talk to someone. Another initiative allows user to anonymously flag another user’s posts. If a picture, its caption, or included hashtags indicate any mental-health related problem, Instagram is notified. Instagram then sends the original poster a list of organizations they can contact for what could be a serious issue.
Now, Fortune reports, Instagram has rolled out a new campaign called “#HereForYou”. “By clicking on selected hashtags (including #HereForYou, along with other more specific hashtags), the goal is to make it easier for users grappling with mental health-related issues to find resources on the platform.” Bringing together people in awareness and recovery for mental health rather than perpetuating harmful behaviors associated with mental health makes social media a safer space.
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