Experts say a person’s social media posts could reveal symptoms of depression. 

Catastrophising, black-and-white thinking, and mindreading are just some of the kinds of “distorted thinking” often linked to depression.

In a new study, US researchers have found that people with a self-reported diagnosis of depression  expressed higher levels of certain kinds of distorted thinking on Twitter.

They compared evidence of this thinking (e.g., “My grades are good but it still feels like I will fail”) with a random sample of Tweets. 

The authors say their results suggest a way to engage and intervene with mental health issues through social media, such as by setting up automated chatbots. However, they urge caution for future applications given data privacy and ethical concerns.

The study is accessible here.