Googling Depression

What’s the first thing most of us do if we want to find out more about something? Google it. And health is no exception.

Using the latest results for Google’s Keyword Tools (a resource for advertisers to monitor search volumes for terms such as ‘depression’), we have found that people in the UK are making 27 searches a minute for depression, 22 a minute for stress and 21 a minute for anxiety.

Depression searches

These findings offer a real insight into the mental health of the nation, and reflect Office for National Statistics’ figures which show that more than 15 million working days per year are lost to sickness absence for stress, depression and anxiety.

We put the findings into a graphic which really brings home the sheer volume of searches being made.

Why are we consulting Google?

Google is the first port of call for many of us when we’re looking for any kind of information, whether it’s world news, celebrity news, football results or historical facts. So, perhaps it’s a natural extension of this that we should consult Google about health issues that are concerning us.

The internet also offers something that traditional health services don’t – instant access 24 hours a day. We are used to getting the information we need exactly when we want it. And when anxious thoughts mean we’re still awake at 3am, the web is always open for business.

The stigma of mental illness?

Another reason for the number of searches made around depression, anxiety and stress online could be the perceived stigma around having a mental illness. Mental health challenges are more common than many realise – 1 in 4 people will experience some form of mental illness each year. But this doesn’t stop some of us from worrying we’ll be treated differently if we admit to feeling depressed, anxious or stressed.

Dr Jeanette Downie, Deputy Medical Director and Consultant Psychiatrist for the Priory Group sees regular examples of this: “I get some people (fairly high powered businesspeople or people who are well known) who are terrified of people finding out and feel that they have absolutely ‘failed’ by being ill, and they often wait until they are really unwell before they come for help.” Dr Downie feels this is a problem unique to mental illness, and “people simply wouldn’t feel the same about a physical illness, like a heart condition.”

Is Googling bad for our mental health?

Should we steer clear of Google completely when it comes to mental health worries? Although there are many websites that offer online tests to determine whether you have anxiety or depression etc, no website can offer the same degree of skill and experience, and the same bespoke service as seeing a medical professional. Dr Downie explains that mental health diagnosis is much more complex than that, “it takes years and years to train to be a psychiatrist, and if it was as easy as just looking up the symptoms or taking a test we [psychiatrists] would all be redundant.”

Dr Downie has had patients who have relied heavily on information they’ve found on the internet: “It’s quite worrying, really. I’ve certainly had patients that have told me that they’ve Googled these things and they’ve just decided that they have pretty serious mental conditions, which they absolutely don’t have. “I think the trouble is that the information they find is without authority. I’ve read some of the sites and I think ‘oh my goodness, how misleading is that?’”

So, if we can’t be sure we’ll get accurate information when we Google, where do we start when looking for help online?

Stress searches

The websites of mental health charities such as MindTime to ChangeMental Health Foundation and Rethink Mental Illness contain a wealth of information about the symptoms and treatments of common mental health conditions. But the next step after reading that is to seek personal, professional advice from a medical expert.

There are also online mental health forums available where you can find information and get support. It’s worth noting that some of the posts you read there will be from people at their lowest point, and to remember that their experience won’t necessarily be your experience. One forum worth taking a look at is a supportive online community run by Mind called Elefriends.

January mental health searches – more than the winter blues?

Over the last two years, January has experienced a spike in search volumes across all three search terms – ‘stress’, ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’. 2014’s statistics saw a significant increase in search volumes across ‘depression’ and stress’ through October, November and December. Based on this recent upward trend, we forecast that January 2015 will see 1,473,059 searches around ‘depression’, an 11% increase from last year. Why the spike in volumes in January in particular? Does it mean that we experience more mental illness this month?

Dr Downie suggests that it’s likely to be down to a combination of things as opposed to a rise in clinical depression and anxiety: “The days are gloomy and short, it’s just after Christmas and people have been hyped up getting everything ready and can be a bit tired. And it’s sometimes a huge anti-climax.” That’s not to say that the feelings of depression, anxiety or stress that searchers are experiencing aren’t genuine, but that they may well be short-lived.

Anxiety searches

Regional findings

The data Google provides can be broken down into major cities, offering an insight into where some portions of the search volume originates from. Unsurprisingly, London sees a large proportion of the average total search volume in the UK at 20.8% per month. This amount dwarfs the search volume of the next highest city, Birmingham, by nearly eight times. Birmingham and Manchester showed relatively similar figures of 2.3% and 2.2% respectively for ‘depression’, which could reflect their comparative population. Around the same term, Leeds exhibited a monthly search volume that made up 2% of the total UK search volume at 23,284 searches per month. Glasgow displayed similar figures to Leeds at 22,476 searches per month, making up 1.9% of the UK’s total search volume. However, it must again be noted that these figures represent searches per month and not individual people.

To Google or not to Google?

The statistics for searching depression, anxiety and stress are impressive. And, as more and more of us conduct our life online, we anticipate search volumes for depression, anxiety and stress will continue to increase.

The key to us avoiding misdiagnosing ourselves is to use Google wisely, and ensure that the sites we’re looking at are accurate. But even the best website can’t replace a personal diagnosis from a qualified medical expert. Only then can you ensure you receive the correct diagnosis and the right treatment.

If you have any concerns about your mental wellbeing, or your require support for of a friend or family member then please contact us on: 0800 078 3093 or click here to make an enquiry.

Information about the data

This dataset is taken from Google Keyword Planner from 1st January 2014 until 31st December 2014. The settings used to get this data were based on searches in the UK in English across Google and Search Partners. Datasets are available upon request.

Google bases these datasets for each search term on relevant keywords using Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). This means that across the search terms ‘depression’, ‘stress’ and ‘anxiety’ there are a small proportion of duplicated keywords which would naturally appear over all three datasets. These figures represent the number of searches made, as opposed to the number of people searching. For example, 100 of these searches could have been made by the same person, rather than 100 people per 100 searches.

The forecast values were arrived at using multiplicative decomposition of the time series data. By estimating the overall growth trend over the last three years, and taking observations of the seasonal peaks and troughs, we are able to make forecasts of future values which take into account both aspects of the changes in search volumes.

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Key Issues in Mental Health

  • Relationship/Marriage Issues. relationship therapy. …
  • Depression. how to deal with depression. …
  • Anxiety. what is anxiety. …
  • Child or Adolescent issues. child therapist. …
  • PTSD. PTSD symptoms. …
  • LGBTQ issues. …
  • Family Conflict. …
  • Personal Growth
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Bag Full of Money

If you shop in Tesco in Beeston please vote for Middle Street Resource Centre in the “Bags of Help” contest.

You can get a Blue Token at the Till and there is a Voting Box on the way out.

You can really help us to improve the Centre with new facilities.

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New College Courses added for 2018

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College Courses 2018 – Complete Checklist

Instructions on enrolment


Important Information on Cost

Some courses are funded by Community Learning (CL). These courses are targeted at
adults (19+) who live in the Nottinghamshire area. CL-funded courses mean you will not have to pay any fees if you are in receipt of certain means-tested benefits and are currently looking for work, otherwise you pay the full fee listed.
Please note you can only enrol on a maximum of two CL-funded courses within one academic year.

Course Title         Code                                                        Time                                             Cost

Stained Glass Q020390              Tue 09/01/2018 20/03/2018 10:00 12:00              £80
Stained Glass Q020391               Tue 09/01/2018 20/03/2018 13:00 15:00              £80

Sewing Skills (CL) Q020393      Fri 12/01/2018 23/03/2018 10:00 12:30                 £75
Sewing Skills Improvers (CL) Q020395 Fri 12/01/2018 23/03/2018 13:00 15:30  £100
Painting and Drawing (CL)   Q004141 Fri 12/01/2018 23/03/2018 10:00 12:15   £68
Painting and Drawing (CL)   Q004142 Fri 12/01/2018 23/03/2018 13:00 15:15   £68

Hand Massage (CL) TBC          Tue 09/01/2018 13/02/2018 10:00 12:00                  £36
Head Massage (CL) TBC           Tue 27/02/2017 27/03/2017 10:00 12:00                  £30
Head Massage (CL) TBC           Sat 27/01/2018 17/02/2018 10:00 12:00                    £24
Head Massage (CL) TBC           Sat 3/3/2018 24/3/2018 10:00 12:00                          £24

Building Self Confidence (CL) Q020405 Thu 11/01/2018 15/02/2018 10:00 12:00 £36
Building Self Confidence (CL) Q020482 Tue 09/01/2018 13/02/2018 18:00  20:00 £36

Managing Life Changes (CL) Q020408 Thu 11/01/2018 15/02/2018 13:00 15:00    £36
Goals and Motivation (CL) Q020409 Thu 01/03/2018 29/03/2018 10:00 12:00     £30
Creating Positive Relationships (CL) Q020412 Thu 01/03/2018 29/03/2018 13:00 15:00 £30
Effective Comms Skills (CL) Q020403 Fri 02/03/2018 23/03/2018 10:00 12:15     £30
Intro to Mindfulness (CL) Q020397 Fri 02/03/2018 23/03/2018 13:15 15:30      £30  Anxiety Management (CL) Q020484 Thu 01/03/2018 29/03/2018 18:00 20:00 £30

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Some signs of Mental Health Issues

We all have physical health which varies and which we need to look after and promote.

The same is true of our mental health – we all have mental health which can vary and needs to be cared for.

Common Problems

  • Avoidance
  • Can’t Sleep
  • Can’t Eat
  • Can’t stop eating
  • Can’t get out of bed
  • Can’t leave your room
  • Can’t concentrate
  • Can’t remember
  • Can’t switch off
  • No motivation
  • Not looking after yourself
  • Hearing Voices
  • Feeling out of control
  • Feeling irrational
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Thinking that people are watching you

The first port of call is your G.P, who will be able to recommend the best course of action. It is important to seek help-it’s not weak and you are worth looking after. Inaction prolongs how long you are affected and no one should suffer longer than you already are.

At Middle Street we have all had experience of Mental Health issues. You are welcome to come and experience a friendly atmosphere with activities purposely aimed at you.

Useful links

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A Present for Everyone

Paul Walsh is presented with a Cheque for £22,000 from Oxjam Music Festival for our support.25152385_1525323437546460_3792948597203948856_n

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Community Courses from Nottingham College

The Community Courses from Nottingham College in 2018. The Booklet is on the link

( Note – This is for all Courses, not just ones at Middle Street )


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New College Courses for 2018

8 exciting new Courses from Nottingham College.


Building Self-Confidence

Creating Positive Relationships

Effective Communication Skills

Goals and Motivation

Introduction to mindfulness

Managing Life Changes

Painting and Drawing

Stained Glass




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Friend of Oxjam Music Festival 2017

Thanks for all your help with the Festival: the loan of the equipment and a venue twice! As you may have head, we have posted an interim profit so far of £18000 which already breaks our own record from 2015.

As a recognition of your support MSRC has been named a ‘Friend of Oxjam Beeston’

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