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Keyboard with Social Media Symbols to Help Identify Users’ Mental Health Status

Social Media Can Help Identify Users’ Mental Health Status

Social media has a wealth of information. This great amount of data allows us to look at trends, discover correlations, and make predictions. We can now use it to alert people of mental health needs and send them helpful resources.

Many people suffer from depression without even knowing it. By utilizing social media data, they may be able to avoid the downward spiral of depression by identifying it as soon as it occurs. This is another way technology and science can use what is already available to bring healing and well-being.

Take a look at the research conducted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Pantic, I. (2014). Online Social Networking and Mental Health. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 17(10), 652–657.

DE CHOUDHURY, M.; GAMON, M.; COUNTS, S.; HORVITZ, E.. Predicting Depression via Social Media. International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, North America, Jun. 2013. Available here. Date accessed: 25 Jan. 2017

Social Media: Using Instagram and Twitter to Help Identify/Predict Depression, Two New Articles, Filed by Gary Price on August 12, 2016

Much of this research shows that by looking at when social media users post, the wording, style, and content of their posts, their level of engagement, and their social connections, researchers can predict and identify depression.

Questions to think about:

  • Would you want to receive automated information on mental health resources if your social media posts indicated depression?
  • Would you want your therapist to have access to the analysis of such data (not the raw data)?
  • Do you think the utilization of this technology could be a source of great research and reduce the incidences of depression?

Online courses to check out: Ethics of Using Technology in Behavioral Health and A Clinician's Use of Online Forums and Social Media to Provide Support and Healing.