The joint study from The Australia National University (ANU) and China’s Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) analysed data from Chinese social media site Weibo to predict potential depression among users.
Co-researcher Jin Han, a PhD student with the ANU National Institute for Mental Health Research, says the depressed people have a specific linguistic pattern.
“They are more likely to use negative words, such as death, depression, life, pain, and suicide,” she says.
She hopes the study can be used to help organisations which work with people suffering depression.
“It could also be used to identify people who may be showing signs of depression but are less likely to reach out for help,” she says.
Ms Han presented the findings of the study during the two-day Studying the Chinese Internet workshop jointly organised by the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences and the ANU College of Asia and Pacific.
If you have having trouble with depression call a counselling service such as Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.
This article first appeared on Business Insider Australia on 4 August 2014.