David Buck explores whether machine learning can help find wider meaning in millions of unstructured online conversations about our health.

Read David's blog, which coincides with the launch of a report Online support: investigating the role of public online forums in mental health, written by the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at cross-party think-tank Demos, in partnership with The King's Fund. 

This report looks at the large amounts of mental health related discussion taking place on public online forums, and explores whether computational techniques can provide robust, actionable insight from these conversations. The report describes the collection and analysis of one million publicly available forum posts, collected from forums related to mental health. Furthermore, it addresses the technical and ethical challenges posed by the collection and analysis of online forum data.

The report was written by the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at Demos in partnership with The King’s Fund. It was funded by the Wellcome Trust Read the Report