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Facebook Statuses Can Indicate Users’ Mental Health

When users have decided to put their whole lives in a digital record, it seems likely that it is possible to know what state of mind a person is going through by just reading a user’s Facebook status updates. There are always new and interesting surveys and studies published about Facebook. A recent study says that the very thing of knowing whether a person is depressed or not through a Facebook status update is possible. Not that the person would categorically state that, but even the ones which apparently seem not to indicate such depression, may actually hold some signs of depression.


Most often we see users posting confessional status updates in which either they seem simply happy or sad about something. Even posting pictures or sharing videos and other links are indicative of this. It then starts a series of comments posting by concerned friends who reflect on what has been shared. But those posts which are “melodramatic” can actually show real signs of depression according to the New York Times. Since most people often tend to be expressive users online when they use Facebook, they want to let it all out somewhere and what better place than to share what you think and what is going on in your mind through a status update.

A research study conducted by the University of Washington found that 30% of 200 surveyed students posted about feeling low in different ways and their low feelings have been categorized by the American Psychiatric Association as symptoms of depression. Of those users who show such signs of depression online, only 10% actually seek psychiatric help and counseling. A user might have a psychologist on his or her list of contacts on Facebook or he or she may not. In any case, it does mean a little invasion of privacy when such mental conditions get discovered through Facebook statuses.

For this reason of trying to help, resident advisors at Cornell University are suggested to add their residents on Facebook. In this way, they can monitor what is happening and what is on their mind when they do update their statuses. To keep privacy, often times children hesitate to add their parents on Facebook or any other close relative. When any such situation of a suicide attempt could be judged through any post of a user, Facebook will send the link to the prevention lifeline and online counselors upon being alerted.

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