Facebook statuses can predict signs of depression

Can Facebook status updates reveal clues to a budding depression? A recent study says these emotional posts can subconsciously offer more than you think.

There’s always that one friend on Facebook who keeps posting confessional statuses, emo pictures, or links of alarming mental states. We might see them as attention seeking or even get annoyed enough to hide the person’s updates from our news feed, but according to a recent New York Times report, such melodramatic posts can offer signs of an actual depression.

For many people, young adolescents and older individuals alike, social media sites are their only sources to vent. Last year, a research study conducted by the University of Washington stated that 30 percent of 200 students posted updates that reported “feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, insomnia or sleeping too much, and difficulty concentrating,” all of which met the American Psychiatric Association’s criteria as symptoms of depression. Internet spaces allow for a certain wall of security that help people admit to things they would ordinarily hide in real life. Only 10 percent of these depression victims seek counseling to get them through their mental issues.

“You can identify adolescents and young adults on Facebook who are showing signs of being at risk, who would benefit from a clinical visit for screening,” Dr. Megan A. Moreno, a principal investigator in the Facebook studies and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison told the New York Times.

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The Worst Ways to Treat Depression

Have you ever tried to eat, sleep, or drink your blues away?

Booze, comfort food, and all-day snooze-fests can temporarily numb feelings of depression — and because of that, self-medicating with these methods (instead of actually getting to the source of your depression and seeking treatment) may sound like a viable quick fix.

Actually, numbing your blue mood with unhealthy coping mechanisms may be one of the first signs of depression, explains Stephanie A. Gamble, PhD, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. Gamble’s current research into depression in alcohol-dependent women reveals that many women aren’t fully aware of the link between their depression symptoms and their alcohol use until they take a lifetime look at their alcohol usage — when they started, and what they were using alcohol in reaction to.

By some estimates, nearly one in three people with depression have a substance abuse disorder, such as drugs or alcohol. But turning to these vices won’t actually get you the depression relief you seek — instead, it can just make things worse. On top of feeling depressed, you may find yourself in the midst of financial hardship, family conflict, and worsened mood.

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Bell creates world’s first chair in anti-stigma research at Queen’s

Bell Canada and Queen’s University have announced a world-first with the establishment of a new $1-million research initiative to help fight stigma associated with mental illness.

The Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair will enable Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences to advance its anti-stigma research, scholarship and outreach programs.

“Bell’s generous donation has allowed Queen’s to appoint a leading scholar to further this important field of study,” says Dr. Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University. “We welcome this opportunity to work with the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative as we continue to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness; Bell has helped today to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Canadians now and in the future.”

The first chair holder is internationally-renowned Queen’s professor of Community Health and Epidemiology Heather Stuart. As chair, Dr. Stuart will continue her multi-disciplinary work developing and disseminating best practices in stigma reduction, expand her applied research collaborations around the world and raise awareness about the significance of mental health and mental health research.

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