Twitter as a potential indicator of depression and suicidal ideation amongst Syrians

The Syrian conflict has had a devastating impact on the physical and mental health of the Syrian people. Millions have been displaced, experiencing violence, trauma, and a loss of familiar social support networks, leading to an alarming increase in mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately one in ten people in Syria suffer from a mild to moderate mental health condition, with the likelihood of one in thirty experiencing more severe conditions. Traditional mental health services have become a luxury that is often inaccessible to the wider diaspora, coupled with a deep-seated human and cultural stigma attached to mental illness. With social media becoming an essential part of daily life, central to which the anonymity it allows, Syrians are using these platforms and twitter, in particular, to share their suffering, pain, and struggles and to express repressed feelings without fear of judgment. This research will investigate how Twitter can help identify common mental health disorders amongst various Syrian communities to address the following research questions: How do Syrians discuss their psychological state and mental health on Twitter? How can neuro linguistic programming (NLP) be used to recognise mental health disorders from tweets posted by Syrians? Can the individual progress of mental health problems among Syrians be tracked based on their Twitter timelines over a specific timeframe? What is the impact of location and demographic factors on the narratives surrounding mental health among Syrians on Twitter? Can the findings of this research serve to inform intervention and support networks for Syrians suffering from mental health disorders?

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