Measuring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Twitter
Keywords:Post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, Social Media, Twitter, Mental Health, Public Health
Traditional mental health studies rely on information primarily collected through personal contact with a health care professional. Recent work has shown the utility of social media data for studying depression, but there have been limited evaluations of other mental health conditions. We consider post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a serious condition that affects millions worldwide, with especially high rates in military veterans. We also present a novel method to obtain a PTSD classifier for social media using simple searches of available Twitter data, a significant reduction in training data cost compared to previous work. We demonstrate its utility by examining differences in language use between PTSD and random individuals, building classifiers to separate these two groups and by detecting elevated rates of PTSD at and around U.S. military bases using our classifiers.