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Big data analytics to probe public perception of mental health

AvantiKumar | Sept. 2, 2016
Malaysia's mental health association has been given a grant to use social media analytics.

MHHA president 

Photo - See Chee Seng, President of Malaysian Mental Health Association (MHHA)


The Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA) has been given a grant to use social media analytics to probe public opinions on mental health.

MHHA president See Chee Seng said the association hopes to analyse public perceptions to help enhance mental health programme delivery.

See said that according to the Health Ministry's National Health and Morbidity Survey, mental health problems among Malaysians aged 18-years-old and above rose to 29.2 percent in 2015 from 12 percent in 2012.

He said the association also wanted to review "the surrounding mental health issues to narrow the awareness gap associated with the condition."

The survey project will done using a monitoring tool that captures and consolidates insights from social media to analyse the opinions, interactions and conversation patterns expressed on Facebook, Twitter, online communities, forums and blogs.

The tool will be supplied by technology solutions company IBM, which also gave the grant worth RM73,000 to MHHA, said See.

Industry collaboration

"Collaboration with organisations like IBM and leveraging on the available technology is instrumental as stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness or psychological distress cause many to forego seeking help," he said.

"MMHA will be able to reach the public far more effectively as a result of the insights gained from this project," he added.

IBM MY MD- done

Commenting on the collaboration, IBM Malaysia managing director Chong Chye Neo (pic above) confirmed that technology and expertise formed part of the value of the "grant to raise awareness of this debilitating disease."

This consulting effort is part of IBM's Impact Grant programme, said Chong - a pro bono initiative that provided consulting expertise and technology such as cognitive, mobile and social to support non-profit organisations in serving their stakeholders more effectively.

"By aligning IBM's talent and technology to MMHA's expertise, we are able to strengthen the impact we make on the community in the important issue of mental health," she said, adding that the outcomes will help the association to devise strategies to improve its programme delivery as well as make actionable recommendations directly to public health officials.

"This Social Media Analytics Impact Grant for MMHA start this week," said Chong. IBM will work with MMHA to define search parameters on mental health. The next phase will set the cloud-based sentiment analytics technology to work. The analysis of the anonymised data is expected to be completed by the end of September.

MMHA is a non-profit organisation represented at the Mental Health Promotion Advisory Council to the Minister of Health.


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