Objective: The objective of this project was to investigate the online behaviors of adolescent and adult populations
with respect to mental health information seeking, and identify differences in approaches within age groups and geographical
Method: This content analysis approach identified and mapped patterns in online conversations. The search data was able
to quantify who was looking for teen mental health information, where they were looking, and what they were looking for.
Additional analysis included the preferred format of information presentation and how mental health searches varied over
Results: The results of the analysis revealed that between 2006 (baseline) to 2010, a 200% increase in online activity regarding
mental health was identified. Adults were most likely to ignite (initiate) conversations online about depression,
followed by: anxiety, doctors, suicide, treatments, and OCD. For teens, depression was also the most ignited topic area,
followed by: anxiety, alcohol, suicide, sexting and marijuana. While adults were often seeking information about the disorders
and treatment options, teens tended to discuss concerns through the use of personal stories.
Conclusion: This research provides insight into how digital and social media can be used to engage both youth and adult
discussions about mental health. We report substantive audience driven differences that can inform the development of
targeted mental health knowledge translation methods and activities. A broader understanding of the key mental health
topics of interest was garnered, in addition to how online use varied between audiences. These results have several implications
for mental health knowledge translation including tactics to connect with various stakeholders.