Suicide Prevention and Social Media


This week I wanted to share something near and dear to my heart, while sharing what emerging media is doing for the cause. Recently, Instagram launched a suicide prevention tool to reach out to users at risk of self-harm (Kottasova, 2016).

I serve on a board of a nonprofit called IceCream MELTS and they are a suicide prevention and mental health awareness organization. When I saw that Instagram implemented this tool, it made me proud to be involved with IceCream MELTS.

Since the implementation of this tool, what will happen is, followers can anonymously flag a user’s post if its contents lead them to believe the poster is going through a difficult time. Then a message from Instagram will direct that user to the resources to find help and support (Allen, 2016).

Instagram has partnered with 40 organizations worldwide including The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, (Allen, 2016) and the Samaritans (Kottasova, 2016).




Allen, K. (2016, October 24). Instagram focuses on suicide prevention with new tool. PR Daily. Retrieved from

Kottasova, I. (2016, October 20). Instagram launches suicide prevention tool. CNN Money. Retrieved from


4 thoughts on “Suicide Prevention and Social Media

  1. Greer,

    I think the addition of this tool is something very innovative. I am very happy to hear that a relevant social media platform has implemented such an important and possibly life saving feature. I am sure that the number of lives effected by some sort of detrimental loss or struggle will outweigh the effort that it took to get this project off the ground.

    What strikes me as an even bigger factor in terms of this new feature is the amount of teenage/adolescent users there are on social media. It so happens that a large number of teenagers are the ones who commit suicide each year which makes it even better that this feature is used through a medium so diluted with teenagers. Over 500,000 young adults attempt suicide each year. (yello dyno, 2007) This makes the new feature priceless!




    (2007). Retrieved from Yello Dyno:


  2. I have known individuals who have committed suicide, accidental or on purpose. At the time of their deaths, social media and even the internet was not readily available. IceCream MELTS has utilized emerging media to assist those who might not be able to ask for help in the traditional manner. Besides Instagram, are other social media sites reaching out to those who are thinking about suicide?


  3. This is an interesting post as I did not know a person could anonymously flag another’s account to receive help information. Is there a way to turn it off later if desired? If it can be something where the user gets additional emails that can also be turned off that would be a good feature.


  4. Greer, this is a great blog post! I have not seen this before, but it is awesome to see the power of Social Media put to such a good use. I support a non-profit organization called “This Is My Brave,” whose mission it is end the stigma around mental illness through story-telling. They are always sending out new resources through their social media channels and I will definitely send this over to them as well. Thank you for sharing!


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