A friend's cry for help is tough to see. Instagram's new feature is here to help.

It's a scary feeling to see a loved one's cry for help. Oftentimes, we're left feeling powerless and questioning if, or how, we should act.

Many of us, unfortunately, know what that gut-wrenching moment feels like. Especially in the age of social media. You're scrolling through your feed — past the baby pics and food photos — and you spot it: a post from a friend that doesn't feel ... right. Your stomach churns, your heart begins to beat faster, and you ask yourself: Is my friend about to hurt themselves?

Should I call him? No, I don't want to offend. Should I tell her mom about this? Probably not. It's none of my business anyway...


Photo via iStock.

We live in a world where posts from friends concerning self-harm, depression, and suicide aren't all that rare. The good news is that Instagram recognizes this, and it's doing something about it.

As part of its #PerfectlyMe initiative celebrating the strength of support networks, the photo-sharing app is rolling out new features to help users anonymously report a friend they're worried about if they see one of those scary posts or messages.

After the post is reported, that friend will get a message from Instagram that notes, "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 feature will then offer your friend a few options, like the ability to contact a help line directly or read tips on getting support and accessing help.

Photos via Instagram.

Instagram is also aware that what a person seeks out through its hashtag search — such as #ImNotOK — can say a lot about what's on their mind. To address this, the app has a new feature that will send a message to a user if they search for a hashtag that's associated with self-harm.

Photo via Instagram.

Instagram worked with experts from groups like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Eating Disorders Association to make sure the language being used in the feature was appropriate and helpful.

"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," Marne Levine, Instagram's chief operating officer, told Seventeen magazine. "At the same time, we understand friends and family often want to offer support but don't know how best to reach out."

Photo by Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images.

Instagram's new feature is social media at its finest: connecting people around the world and giving them tools to help one another.

Social apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can get a bad rap. Sometimes, they provide a platform for bullies. Other times, they're used to spread hate and bigotry by those with the wrong ideas.

But these same platforms also connect long-lost friends, unite marginalized groups in solidarity, and, yes, allow us to make sure we're looking out for our friends and family.

"These tools," Levine explained, "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."

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Cipolla's graph with the benefits and losses that an individual causes to him or herself and causes to others.

Have you ever known someone who was educated, well-spoken, and curious, but had a real knack for making terrible decisions and bringing others down with them? These people are perplexing because we're trained to see them as intelligent, but their lives are a total mess.

On the other hand, have you ever met someone who may not have a formal education or be the best with words, but they live wisely and their actions uplift themselves and others?

In 1976, Italian economist Carlo Cipolla wrote a tongue-and-cheek essay called "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity" that provides a great framework for judging someone's real intelligence. Now, the term stupid isn't the most artful way of describing someone who lives unwisely, but in his essay Cipolla uses it in a lighthearted way.

Cipolla explains his theory of intelligence through five basic laws and a matrix that he belives applies to everyone.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."