June 11, 2009

The Social Life of Health Information

Depression, anxiety, stress or mental health issues

28% of internet users look online for information about depression, anxiety, stress or mental health issues.

The percentage of adults who look online for information about mental health issues has increased in the past two years. From 2002-2006, online searches for information about mental health issues remained relatively stable, around 22%. In 2008, however, the percentage of internet users to look online for information about depression, anxiety, stress or mental health issues rose to 28%, a statistically significant increase.

Mental health issues

Demographics

Women account for much of the growth in online research of mental health issues over the past six years, whereas men have remained about equally likely to look for this information online. Thirty-five percent of online women go online to find information about mental health issues, compared with 22% of men.

Internet users under the age of 65 are more than twice as likely as wired seniors to turn to the internet for information about mental health. Fully one-third (33%) of online 18-29 year olds, 32% of online 30-49 year olds, and 26% of online 50-64 year olds look for mental health information online, while just 12% of online adults age 65 and older do so.

Additionally, those with higher levels of education are also significantly more likely than those with less education to seek mental health information online. Some 32% of college graduates and 31% of adults with some college education reported looking for mental health information online, compared with 24% of those with a high school diploma and 26% of those with less than a high school education who reported doing so.

Mental health issues