It is no secret that people frequently use the internet to search for ailments that they believe they may be suffering from. If someone is experiencing a concerning symptom, or multiple symptoms that are worrying them, going online to search for possible causes is a quick and easy way to get answers. Despite the fact that these answers may not be accurate, they can mollify a person’s concerns temporarily, or they can encourage them to seek further consultation.
Looking into the various searches in and of themselves, however, can provide some interesting information.
Sunbelt Staffing, an agency who works to link educational and healthcare professionals with appropriate occupational settings, conducted a survey where Google search data was compiled and analyzed to determine which parts of the United States are searching for what types of symptoms and ailments.
There were 20 specific ailments included in the study ranging from stress, depression, and anxiety to digestive problems, dermatological conditions, respiratory illnesses, and sports injuries. In an article written for Men’s Journal, Bret Stetka pointed out that of those 20 conditions, depression was “by far the most frequent search nationwide, with an average of over 450,000 monthly queries.”
The results of this survey indicated that Columbus, Ohio ranks highest for people who are engaging in searches related to depression and stress. According to Howard Gerber, who posted an article about the survey on Sunbelt Staffing’s website, noted that residents of Columbus are searching for these terms “on average 1,300 times per month.”
The frequency of depression searches that are being made by residents of the greater Columbus area may not necessarily mean that more people are suffering from depression in this area, but possibly that the access to healthcare services that are designed to treat depression are limited in Columbus and its surrounding communities.
In his Men’s Journal article, Stetka notes that Ohio in general has a “notable lack of therapists per capita,” which, in turn, could potentially mean that more people “are turning to the internet for medical counsel.”
If this is, in fact, the case, it is imperative that healthcare professionals and physicians in Franklin County become aware of it and work towards taking steps to provide services for those in need.
While the internet can be an immensely beneficial tool for many things, using it to diagnose oneself or a loved one with a medical condition or mental health disorder is highly discouraged. Especially when there is concern that someone is suffering from depression, it is extremely important that appropriate steps be taken in order to ensure that he or she gets the care that is needed.
If you believe that you might be suffering from depression, or that someone close to you is suffering from symptoms of this mental health disorder, please contact the admissions team at Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry to receive a free, confidential assessment.