Instagram are now looking out for your mental health

A new tool lets the app respond to worrying content by offering users help

After the news that your filter on Instagram could reveal whether you’re suffering from depression, it looks like the social media platform is taking further steps to help users address their mental health issues.

While users have been able to report worrying content for a while now, a new tool will now let the person who posted the image or hashtag know that someone saw their post and thinks they are going through a difficult time.

The app will then offer that person the option to either talk to a friend, contact a helpline or get tips and support online. Instagram will then provide the information for helplines and sites accordingly.

‘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,’ said Marne Levine, COO of Instagram.

‘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.’

Nice one, Instagram.

On 31st August we wrote…

When you put your snaps up on Instagram, how do you choose your filter? Do you opt for one that makes it look bold and bright like ‘Lark’? Or maybe one that makes it look hazy and warm like ‘Rise’?

Or do you just swipe right until you find one that’s vaguely decent, because it doesn’t really matter, right?

Wrong. Your choice of Instagram filter actually is a lot more important than you think.

According to a new study from Harvard and the University of Vermont, the filter you choose to use on Instagram could give an insight into your mental health.

The study analysed over 43,000 pictures from the Instagram accounts of 166 volunteers, who also completed a standardised clinical depression survey.

Researchers found that specific colours, filters and subjects in photos could predict depression in users.

Images which lacked faces and were blue, grey or dark in colour provided a clear link with depression. In particular, participants who used the ‘Inkwell’ filter were also found to have depressive tendencies.instagram mental health

Meanwhile, healthy individuals preferred ‘Valencia’, a filter which lightens images.

‘Instagram members currently contribute almost 100 million new posts per day, and Instagram’s rate of new users joining has recently outpaced Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and even Facebook,’ said the researchers.
Instagram mental health

Of course, just because someone has posted a black and white photo doesn’t necessarily mean that they have depression. But although further analysis is needed, researchers have suggested that this might be an important mental health indication tool in the future, opening ‘new avenues for early screening and detection of mental illness’.

‘[Our] findings demonstrate how visual social media may be harnessed to make accurate inferences about mental health,’ wrote the researchers. ‘There is good reason to prioritise research into Instagram analysis for health screening. Instagram members currently contribute almost 100 million new posts per day and Instagram’s rate of new users joining has recently outpaced Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and even Facebook.’

Anything that helps diagnose mental health sounds good to us…

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