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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