Monitoring Tweets for Depression to Detect At-Risk Users

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Title: Monitoring Tweets for Depression to Detect At-Risk Users
Authors: Jamil, Zunaira
Date: 2017
Abstract: According to the World Health Organization, mental health is an integral part of health and well-being. Mental illness can affect anyone, rich or poor, male or female. One such example of mental illness is depression. In Canada 5.3% of the population had presented a depressive episode in the past 12 months. Depression is difficult to diagnose, resulting in high under-diagnosis. Diagnosing depression is often based on self-reported experiences, behaviors reported by relatives, and a mental status examination. Currently, author- ities use surveys and questionnaires to identify individuals who may be at risk of depression. This process is time-consuming and costly. We propose an automated system that can identify at-risk users from their public social media activity. More specifically, we identify at-risk users from Twitter. To achieve this goal we trained a user-level classifier using Support Vector Machine (SVM) that can detect at-risk users with a recall of 0.8750 and a precision of 0.7778. We also trained a tweet-level classifier that predicts if a tweet indicates distress. This task was much more difficult due to the imbalanced data. In the dataset that we labeled, we came across 5% distress tweets and 95% non-distress tweets. To handle this class imbalance, we used undersampling methods. The resulting classifier uses SVM and performs with a recall of 0.8020 and a precision of 0.1237. Our system can be used by authorities to find a focused group of at-risk users. It is not a platform for labeling an individual as a patient with depres- sion, but only a platform for raising an alarm so that the relevant authorities could take necessary interventions to further analyze the predicted user to confirm his/her state of mental health. We respect the ethical boundaries relating to the use of social media data and therefore do not use any user identification information in our research.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/36030
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-20310
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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