Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Health Agency to Mine Social Media for Study on Suicide Trends, Risk Factors

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Health Agency to Mine Social Media for Study on Suicide Trends, Risk Factors

Article excerpt

Health agency eyes social media suicide study

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OTTAWA - Federal health researchers are looking to mine social media to more quickly identify suicide-related behaviours, instead of relying on woefully outdated data.

What the Public Health Agency of Canada wants is an artificial intelligence program that combs social media platforms for keywords to give its researchers a better view of trends and risk factors linked to suicide-related behaviours.

The proposed pilot project, outlined in federal bidding documents, would also give a window into suicide risks based on sex, age, ethnicity, and geographic location.

The agency says it is not, however, looking to make the pilot project a tool to predict suicides or identify specific people at risk of attempting to die by suicide.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Canadian teens. …

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