Instafame – It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To BeVTurner
We scroll through our feeds to see sandy beaches on distant shores, mouth-watering recipes, funny memes and celebrity updates. It’s only natural that we look for the things that lift our mood. That little distraction or two.
But the darker truth is much harder to look at.
While piecing together this article, a quick Websta search threw up a staggering 9,515,232 Instagram posts which included the hashtag #depression. 4,819,416 with #anxiety and 4,621,207 with #lonely.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Hashtags
The stigma surrounding mental health is still very real and is a huge part of the battle faced by those suffering. For some, reaching out to those they love is difficult enough for fear of rejection or misunderstanding. I mean, who wants to be “the crazy one”, right?
Many turn to social media as an escape but are bombarded with flash cash, fast cars and luxury lifestyles, not to mention the “perfect” toned bodies of their – in many cases – false idols.
As if there wasn’t enough to live up to in 2016…
You’re On Their Mind Too
In a world where many people feel as if their self-worth is determined by the amount of Likes on their latest photo, it’s so great to see social networks leading by example and fighting the good fight against mental health issues.
Instagram are rolling out a new feature in an attempt to offer support to those who may be struggling. Users will be able to anonymously notify them of fellow Instagramers based on the content they post and the hashtags they use.
They then display a series of support messages and resources to the person in concern:
“Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you may be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help.”
The same message will be shown to those who search for hashtags such as #selfharm or #suicidal.
The photo-sharing giants have made every effort to ensure that these messages are not intrusive to those who may be in need of help by working together with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Eating Disorder Association. With guidance from these organisations – and others – the tone, content and support resources offered has been carefully crafted.
Instagram’s chief operating officer, Marne Levine, said:
“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.
“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.”
It’s a bold but welcome move from Instagram. The platform that could be seen to be facilitating narcissism and inadequacy is now publicly balancing the scales by offering support to those in need.
It was revealed back in 2015 that there were 14 million monthly active users in the UK. When you realise that one in six of those people – roughly 15% – have experienced a common mental health issue, approximately 2.1m UK Instagram users could benefit.
This support is likely to make a positive impact on many lives, not only in the UK, but around the world. It is being launched in the US with a view to be rolled out globally in the coming months.
See Me – The ‘Power Of Okay’
See Me is Scotland’s programme to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination and, we are extremely proud to say, a client of ours here at Space & Time Media.
Read more about our work with See Me and their Marketing Society Star Award for their ‘Power of Okay’ campaign.
If you or someone you know are experiencing mental health difficulties, below are a few links which may be helpful. Don’t suffer in silence.
MIND: 0300 123 3393
Samaritans: 116 123
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58
See Me: Scotland 0141 530 1111
Dan Price – Creative Digital Specialist