Mental health information online: what we have learned from social media metrics in BuzzFeed’s Mental Health Week

Informações de saúde mental on-line: o que aprendemos com as métricas de mídias sociais na Semana de Saúde Mental do BuzzFeed

Thais Martini Leticia S. Czepielewski Daniel Prates Baldez Emma Gliddon Christian Kieling Lesley Berk Michael Berk Marcia Kauer-Sant’Anna About the authors



The Internet has seen rapid growth in the number of websites focusing on mental health content. Considering the increased need for access to accurate information about mental health treatment, it is important to understand the promotion of this information online.


To analyze BuzzFeed’s Mental Health Week (BFMHW) interactions on its own website and in related social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) using metrics of information delivery in mental health topics.


We extracted social media metrics from the 20 posts with the highest number of BuzzFeed interactions on the BFMHW website and from 41 videos available on the BFMHW playlist created by the BuzzFeed Video profile on YouTube. We analyzed the format and content used in BuzzFeed’s publishing methods as well as the following social media metrics: exposure (presence online, views and time online), influence (likes) and engagement (comments, shares, replies and BuzzFeed interactions).


Analysis of the variables revealed that audience engagement is associated with the number of medias in which the content is published: views on YouTube and shares on Facebook (0.71, p<0.001), total interactions on Facebook (0.66, p<0.001) and BuzzFeed number of total interactions (0.56, p<0.001).


Our results suggest that videos on YouTube may be an important information channel, including activity and engagement on other medias such as Facebook. Information may be more effective in reaching the audience if it is delivered in more than one media and includes personal experiences, some humor in content and detailed information about treatment.

Mental health online; social media metrics; engagement; BuzzFeed; Mental Health Week; psychiatry

Associação de Psiquiatria do Rio Grande do Sul Av. Ipiranga, 5311/202, 90610-001 Porto Alegre RS/ Brasil, Tel./Fax: (55 51) 3024 4846 - Porto Alegre - RS - Brazil