Researchers have started to examine data from Twitter in areas that are involved in conflict or are experiencing significant amounts of stress due to a crisis. They are trying to see what can be determined from the data regarding the mental health of those that are sending the tweets.
The specific case being discussed in this article is the drug war situation that has occurred in Mexico. Two years of Twitter data has been taken from four cities in Mexico that will investigate how the conflict between the government and the drug cartels is affecting the entire community.
Since many news outlets limit what they broadcast, many are forced to rely on social media to express themselves and spread the news. They not only use Twitter to de-stress, but to connect with others experiencing similar situations and gather information. Once all this data is collected and examined, mental health aid can be directed towards those groups that need it the most.
In another instance, American Red Cross volunteers sent supportive messages through Facebook or Twitter to those that mentioned feelings of fear or anxiety after the Boston Marathon bombings.
Do you feel that this is an invasion of privacy to provide mental health aid based on your social media activity, when you haven’t specifically reached out or asked for it? Or is this just an additional tool to use in a crisis when it is clear that guidance is already needed?