NLP Reveals Vulnerable Mental HealthSupport Groups and Heightened Health Anxiety on Reddit

LIWC Research Series:

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting mental health, but it is not clear how people with different types of mental health problems were differentially impacted as the initial wave of cases hit. By using a broad set of NLP techniques and analyzing a baseline of pre-pandemic posts, the researchers uncovered patterns of how specific mental health problems manifest in language, identified at-risk users, and revealed the distribution of concerns across Reddit, which could help provide better resources to its millions of users. We then demonstrated that textual analysis is sensitive to uncover mental health complaints as they appear in real time, identifying vulnerable groups and alarming themes during COVID-19, and thus may have utility during the ongoing pandemic and other world-changing events such as elections

and protests.

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Low DM, Rumker L, Talkar T, Torous J, Cecchi G, Ghosh SS. Natural Language Processing Reveals Vulnerable Mental Health Support Groups and Heightened Health Anxiety on Reddit During COVID-19: Observational Study. J Med Internet Res. 2020 Oct 12;22(10):e22635. doi: 10.2196/22635. PMID: 32936777; PMCID: PMC7575341.