What should I do if a friend posted something on Instagram that suggests they have an eating disorder?
If a friend posted something that suggests they may have an eating disorder and need help, we ask that you report the post to us so we can reach out to them and offer support.
Please note that we'll remove content that promotes or encourages eating disorders, but we do allow people to share their own experiences and journeys around self-image and body acceptance. You can visit Instagram's Community Guidelines to learn more.
You can also offer support. We worked with the National Eating Disorders Association to come up with the following tips about what you should and shouldn’t do if you think your friend may be struggling with an eating disorder.
Do:
  • Check in with your friend about how they’re feeling. For example, you could say, "How have you been doing lately? I’m always happy to listen if there’s anything you need to talk about."
  • Use "I" statements. For example, you could say, "I'm concerned because you didn’t eat breakfast and lunch."
  • If your friend doesn’t want to share or says there’s no reason for you to be concerned, let them know that you care and will be happy to listen if they ever need to talk.
  • Spend time with your friend to show that you care about them (example: talk, watch a movie).
  • Set an example with your own life. Also, don’t make negative comments about your own or other people’s appearances.
  • If your friend says they're not doing well, ask them if they’ve considered talking with a counselor, doctor, nutritionist or other health professional. For example, you could say, "I don't know if this will help, but have you considered talking to a doctor about this?" You can also suggest that they take a free, anonymous online assessment to help them understand their risk of an eating disorder.
Don't:
  • Use accusatory "you" statements, like "You’re not taking care of yourself."
  • Place shame, blame or guilt on your friend about their appearance or actions.
  • Give simple solutions, like "If you’d stop dieting, everything would be fine!"
  • Expect to cure your friend.
Eating disorder helplines
For more information about or help with eating disorders, contact one of the eating disorder helplines below:
Argentina
Australia
Canada
  • National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC)
  • www.nedic.ca
  • 1-866-NEDIC-20 (1-866-633-4220): Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm EST, Friday 9am-5pm EST
  • Online Chat: Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm EST, Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 1pm-7pm EST
  • https://www.instagram.com/the_nedic/
The Middle East
United Kingdom
  • beat (beating eating disorders)
  • www.b-eat.co.uk
  • 0845 634 1414
  • 0845 634 7650 (youthline)
  • help@b-eat.co.uk
United States
You can also contact one of the organizations in our list of helplines for suicide and self-injury.
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