American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Volume 44, Issue 5 , Pages 520-525, May 2013
John W. Ayers, PhD, MA. Benjamin M. Althouse, ScM , Jon-Patrick Allem, MA , J. Niels Rosenquist, MD, PhD , Daniel E. Ford, MD, MPH
Background” Population mental health surveillance is an important challenge limited by resource constraints, long time lags in data collection, and stigma. One promising approach to bridge similar gaps elsewhere has been the use of passively generated digital data.
Purpose: This article assesses the viability of aggregate Internet search queries for real-time monitoring of several mental health problems, specifically in regard to seasonal patterns of seeking out mental health information.
Methods: All Google mental health queries were monitored in the U.S. and Australia from 2006 to 2010. Additionally, queries were subdivided among those including the terms ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder); anxiety; bipolar; depression; anorexia or bulimia (eating disorders); OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder); schizophrenia; and suicide. A wavelet phase analysis was used to isolate seasonal components in the trends, and based on this model, the mean search volume in winter was compared with that in summer, as performed in 2012.
Results: All mental health queries followed seasonal patterns with winter peaks and summer troughs amounting to a 14% (95% CI=11%, 16%) difference in volume for the U.S. and 11% (95% CI=7%, 15%) for Australia. These patterns also were evident for all specific subcategories of illness or problem. For instance, seasonal differences ranged from 7% (95% CI=5%, 10%) for anxiety (followed by OCD, bipolar, depression, suicide, ADHD, schizophrenia) to 37% (95% CI=31%, 44%) for eating disorder queries in the U.S. Several nonclinical motivators for query seasonality (such as media trends or academic interest) were explored and rejected.
Conclusions: Information seeking on Google across all major mental illnesses and/or problems followed seasonal patterns similar to those found for seasonal affective disorder. These are the first data published on patterns of seasonality in information seeking encompassing all the major mental illnesses, notable also because they likely would have gone undetected using traditional surveillance.
Notes on graphs
- Blue = US, Red = Australia
- 5 sinusoids = 5 years of data for each country
- Numbers at bottom of graph = weeks into the year for each set of sinusoids
The variation across the 5 years is shown in ( ) and by the length of the horizonal line
See also MedicalNewsToday on this study
all mental health searches lower in summer
|Suicide||24% and 29%||17%|
PDF is attached at the bottom of this page
- Low vitamin D and depression - Study and meta-analysis, April 2013
- Every school shooter had used antidepression drugs, but how many were low on vitamin D
- Mental health problems cut in half when have adequate level of vitamin D – Jan 2013
- Depression book talks about vitamin D - Nov 2012
- All items in category Winter Blues/Depression and Vitamin D
- Serotonin related to season, light and perhaps latitude and vitamin D
- SAD rate 10X higher in cloudy Seattle than sunny Florida - April 2011
- Depression in UAE peaks in the summer – probably due to sun avoidance – Feb 2011
- Schizophrenia and vitamin D have latitude-related genes – Nov 2010
- Overview Schizophrenia and Vitamin DFewest Google searches for Mental Health when there is lots of vitamin D from the sun – May 2013
12956 visitors, last modified 29 Apr, 2013,This page is in the following categories (# of items in each category)Depression 237 Top news 889 Cognitive 334