What does your Instagram account say about you? You are a lover of art, or a selfie expert, a food junkie or a wanderlust kind of person. It reflects on who you consider to be your fashion icon, or what your hobbies are, what you indulge in. Yes, all that and more, but did you know interestingly thanks to a new research it can help us find whether we or any of our known person may be a victim of depression. Yes, it’s true it can shed some light on our mental status.
A study conducted by Andrew G. Reece and Christopher M. Danforth based on a computer algorithm can help identify depression among users, just by analysing their posts. They conducted a study on 166 individuals, accessing their insta profiles and history and totted up 43950 photos. Out of these users, 71 had been clinically diagnosed as suffering depression. To confirm the accuracy of their method, they did a check of all posts before the diagnosis as well and found it worked like a charm to detect early signs of depression. Hence eliminating the possibility of the results being biased, based on the fact that the diagnosis may have affected user posts on Instagram.
It’s a breakthrough of sorts, which can help many. Here’s how they did it. Colors say a lot, so one of the criteria was the colorfulness in photos and various filters available on the app. It was found that healthy people tend to post more colorful, vibrant pictures, whereas the ones depressed posted more black & white, or bluer or grayer photos. Similarly, the more common filter among the happy folks was Valencia, whereas those suffering this blue mood, was Inkwell. Working on the posts, they also considered the likes and comments. Healthier people’s posts had more likes than comments, whereas it was vice-versa for the unhappy ones. Finally, we are talking about social media so the socializing aspect couldn’t be ignored. If the posts had more people in it, it’s good to go, but more solo shots, or posts with fewer people, indicating the withdrawal from the society hinted towards depression.
The result they received showed that using this method, they were able to diagnose the condition 70% of times, whereas a general practitioner without the proper tools and methods was able to diagnose depression 42%. Of course they had a few hiccups, like when they were considering the duration for analysing depression. After all, everyone suffers from off days, we all feel sad from time to time, but that doesn’t mean we are all depressed. So they found a way around it and worked.
The silver lining considering all things is that it’s an easy and efficient way that will be able to access many people, who may not otherwise consider their mental status, or ask for help. It will also be easier to work and devise better ways to diagnose and make the people pay more mind to their mind. If something good comes out of spending so much time on these apps, if they can help us feel better by showing us what’s in the dark, then I say instantly Instagram it. Stay well stay happy folks!