Instagram’s New Feature May Help Save Lives

Instagram made the most important update yet.

Instagram is a widely used form of social media. But as far as social media outlets go, it definitely feels a lot less involved than say, Facebook and Twitter. However, a new update will remind you that Instagram is full of a community of friends, too. Along with amazing photos, of course.

Refinery29 points out that while you’re posting light-hearted photos of your adventures and your very best brunches, Instagram is also there to help if you have mental health concerns about a friend.

According to the publication, if a friend posts about self-harm, you can anonymously report it. Then, your friend will get a message that reads, “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.” The app provides a list of suggestions for hotlines to call, etc.Seventeen points out that Instagram worked with groups like National Eating Disorders Association and The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to come up with the language for the prompts and messages the person will receive.

The update took effect on Oct. 17, which is also the day that Instagram teamed up with Seventeen to launch the hashtag #PerfectlyMe to celebrate what makes us individuals.

“My version of #PerfectlyMe is letting go of the never-ending fight to be someone else. #PerfectlyMe invites ME back into the equation, not as a form of settling for myself, but as an act of welcoming that self home, accepting her singularities, celebrating her deviance.” —Rebekah Taussig (@sitting_pretty), a writer, teacher and PhD candidate who lives in Kansas City, Missouri. “Growing up with a disability, I developed a lot of coping mechanisms early in life — detaching from my body, always smiling no matter what I was experiencing on the inside, never admitting sadness or shame. Even when I received the positive affirmation I was seeking, it was never enough to make me feel full. With time — so much time — I’ve been working to shift that burden of acceptance to myself. Accepting myself frees me up to actually experience life — to use this instrument I’m living in. Why do we treat our bodies as objects to beat into submission, to criticize into doing better, to overcome and rise above? I want to work with my body. I think we’ll get further and fuller that way, but it’s slow. I’m learning.” Who or what inspires you to feel #PerfectlyMe? Use the hashtag to share your story. Photo by @sitting_pretty

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#PerfectlyMe is a celebration of strength,” Instagram chief operating officer Marne Levine told the magazine. “It’s about the strength of the support networks that we have seen grow steadily across Instagram, and the strength of individuals in these communities who are redefining beauty standards and building a culture of positivity.”

Growing up, Jody Heakes (@jdoday) was frequently bullied about her weight. “I remember (now cringingly), in middle school dumbing myself down, pretending not to know things, because I’d decided that I would much rather be labeled as ‘the stupid girl’ than ‘the fat girl,’” says the 21-year-old. “Today, I pride myself on being a thoughtful and intelligent woman.” Jody was interested in photography, but it wasn’t until she graduated from high school that her mother encouraged her to model. “I was always behind the camera, never in front,” Jody says. “Switching roles and seeing photos of myself made me realize that I wasn’t as unattractive as I felt.” Her participation in the body-positive movement online feels like an extension of her studies at the University of Toronto — she’s a fourth-year student in history and equity studies. “I strongly believe that representation matters, and not only representation of different body types, but different ethnicities, ages and abilities,” Jody says. “Confidence comes with time. It has taken me over five years to reach the level of acceptance with myself that I have now. I can only imagine how much better I’ll feel five years from now.” Who or what inspires you to feel #PerfectlyMe? This month, we’ve teamed up with @seventeen to celebrate people who are redefining body standards and inspiring confidence on Instagram. Use the hashtag to share your story. Photo by @jdoday

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Instagram is striving to be more than a place to document your life through photographs. It’s about sharing what makes you, you. And with this update, the app is only reminding us of that. Don’t forget to use #PerfectlyMe to get involved with others in the Instagram community who are happy to celebrate their unique selves, too.

[h/t: Refinery29]