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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."

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

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Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Teen raises $186,000 to help Walmart worker retire.

In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.

Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

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US players comforting Iranian opponents after their World Cup match is humanity at its best

The politically charged match ended with several beautiful displays of genuine human connection.

US and Iranian players embrace after World Cup match-up.

The lead-up to the 2022 World Cup match between the U.S. and Iran was filled with anticipation, as the teams battled for a spot in the final 16 and long-running tensions between the two nations on the political stage rose to the surface.

The Iranian team had some internal tensions of its own to deal with as players navigated the spotlight amid human rights protests in their home country and rigid expectations of their government. According to CNN, after refusing to sing the national anthem before its match against England on November 21, the Iranian team was reportedly called into a meeting with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and told that their families would face “violence and torture” if they did not sing the anthem or engaged in any other form of protest.

Hence, before the match against the U.S., the players were shown somberly singing the anthem. Then they got down to the business they were there for—trying to win (or at least tie) a soccer match to advance to the World Cup round of 16.

It was an exciting game, with the U.S. ultimately winning 1-0. But in the end, all of the intense competition and political tensions were superseded by some truly heartwarming acts of good sportsmanship and human kindness.

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Philadelphia is taking the city back to the past.

Remember when calling your parents, a tow truck or a friend when you were out and about meant digging in your pocket for a quarter to make a pay phone call? Well, a Philadelphia-based collective, PhilTel, is jumping into the past with a modern twist, by installing free-to-use pay phones throughout the city.

Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.

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Photo by Jaleel Akbash on Unsplash

Japanese soccer fans explain why they clean the stadium after a match.

Japanese fans at the World Cup tournament have been receiving praise for their admirable habit of cleaning up the stadium after their team's matches. It's commonplace to see Japanese fans, blue garbage sacks in hand, hanging back after the game to pick up the trash everyone has left behind in the stadium.

It's not the first time Japanese cleanliness has made headlines. Some schools in Japan don't even hire janitorial staff, as the students clean their schools themselves. Other than in specific educational programs such as Montessori (where practical skills and habits like cleaning and organizing the environment are incorporated into the pedagogy), that idea is practically unheard of in the U.S. But watching the Japanese fans picking up after a game, the automatic assumption that someone else is going to clean up after us feels like a mistake.

So what is it that compels Japanese fans to clean the stadium at the World Cup, despite the fact that there are people hired to do it already?

It generally comes down to one word: "atarimae."

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