Along with other major social media platforms like TikTok and Pinterest, Instagram marked National Eating Disorders Awareness Week by adding new resources and ways to support users who may be affected by eating disorders or body image problems.
In its blog post, Instagram announced that in an effort to help support people struggling with negative body image, disordered eating, and other mental health problems, the platform will bring new resources and features that encourage body inclusivity and help people in need to find support and community.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week runs from February 22 through February 28. It is held every year in February to spread information about eating disorders among people to support those affected by this issue.
Social media, especially major platforms like Instagram, play a significant role in stressing younger generations over their body image, promoting comparison, and exposing users to specific body types. That is why it is important to create new initiatives and support those struggling with eating issues no one talks about.
From now on, if a user searches for eating disorder-related content, Instagram will display helpful resources or helplines provided by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Before that, Instagram used only to blur out potentially triggering content in search results, but now it will direct users to specific resources about eating disorders.
Apart from that, Instagram will also show users resources in case they try to share content related to eating disorders or if someone is concerned about content they see and want to offer support.
Lastly, as part of the initiative, Instagram is collaborating with influencers who will be using the hashtags #NEDAwareness and #allbodieswelcome and publish Reels that “encourage positive body image, push back against weight stigma and harmful stereotypes, and show that all bodies are worthy and deserve to be celebrated.”
The update is similar to that announced by TikTok, which the company rolled out earlier. Starting this week, if users search for phrases or hashtags related to eating disorders, the platform will provide access to the NEDA helpline.
The app will also show public service announcements created in partnership with NEDA to foster support for people struggling with eating disorders. Besides, tips developed with experts will help TikTok users identify negative self-talk and find out how to support friends who may be suffering from disordered eating.
Pinterest also introduced a similar initiative. If users search for certain words or phrases, the app will direct them to the website of NEDA for further resources.
Even though the new initiative will not immediately eliminate all self-esteem issues of Instagram users, it can at least help vulnerable people get easier access to experts’ advice.