Any kind of avenue we can find is a good one if it results in diagnosing and becoming aware of someone's depression — and helping them treat it.
Researchers are hopeful that a new study might be able to see the signs of depression by looking at the amount and type of online activity people are showing.
This means that there could be software tools to help warn us!
All of this came about when researchers noticed that depressed people use the internet differently than those who weren't.
Some of the signs were: obsessively checking e-mail, watching lots of videos, and switching frequently among multiple apps.
How is that NOT everyone??
They then asked 216 college students to complete a questionnaire to determine whether they were depressed.
After that, they had the tech department watch, which is super creepy even if they say it wasn't:
"This didn't mean snooping on what the students were looking at or whom they were e-mailing; it merely meant monitoring how they were using the Internet - information about traffic flow that the university customarily collects for troubleshooting network connections and such."
Anyway, there was a correlation between high depression scores and greater instances of sharing files such as music and movies.
Of course, this doesn't mean you shouldn't be talking to professionals:
"This would not replace the function of mental health professionals, but it could be a cost-effective way to prompt people to seek medical help early. It might also be a tool for parents to monitor the mood-related Internet usage patterns of their children."
Any early alert is a good one, if you ask us!
Science! Science! Science!
[Image via AP Images.]