Social Media and mental health

The relationship between Social Media and Mental Health is continuosly growing and supporting each other. The Social Media is undoubtely now a rich data base of unstructured information that is usefull for e-marketing , consumer insights, political and social behaviour discovery. But beyond that, social media is becoming right now a rich platform to provide health solutions (and particulary mental health).

As an example,  an application scenario could be to identify at-risk individuals in online communities which will then later allow the psychologists and psychiatrists to use it to complement and enrich the therapies. A research from the University Of Ottawa Faculty Of Engineering is exploring how to predict mental illnes using social media information. It can also be used to identify at-risk youth or high school bullying victims, just by extracting data from posting, blogging and tweeting on the social media.

Over the years an important number of research on this matter has been accumulated, both from a cognitive perspective as well as from the technology perspective, reaching a tipping point to build real solutions and applications to become a reality. Machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis mixed with a huge data online are the core constituents to allow this type of application scenario.

In the near future both psychometrics and psychotherapy will have at their disposal a rich variety of tools and solutions to complement the actual or traditional test suits, evaluations, surveys and sessions. Here are a few examples reported by Tori Utley on the post “The Rise Of Digital Technology In Mental Health

  • Eliza: analyzes speech to determine a person’s mental state.
  • Saker: tracks a person’s gait to test how scared or apprehensive a user is feeling.
  • Autism & Beyond: uses facial recognition technology to help in early-stage autism screening.
  • Quartet: a collaborative behavioral health platform that aggregates data and analyzes trends between physical health and behavioral health, linking patients with a health care provider, evidence-based approaches and individualized plans.

There are many more on the way. The list is growing steadily. The main beneficiaries will be all of us, putting the technology on our side to bring us mental health.

  • Ellie: touted as the world’s first AI-psychologist.
  • Koko: A social network that actually helps you feel better.
  • Monsenso: mHealth solution for mental illness.
  • MixedEmotions: Big Linked Data Platform for Emotional Analysis.
  • Ginger: Take control of depression & anxiety, right from your pocket

Update: at 2021, the number of digital tools for mental health is around 10,000.

Photo by Rodrigo Acuña for Psycognet