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June 14, 2019

From anxiety over student loans and high rent to work pressure and genetically modified foods; from concerns over data privacy with “Alexa” to environmental unsustainability. Worry is everywhere, and while physical wellness has long been a popular new year’s resolution, the focus on mental health and wellness is growing. The mindfulness and meditation app “Headspace” has more than 11 million downloads since launching in 2012; “Calm’s” sleep stories have more than 100 million listeners. Popular gratitude diary “Five Minute Journal” received five-star reviews from more than a thousand customers on Amazon and a 4.9/5 rating from more than 7,000 users on the iTunes store.


(picture from BuzzFeed)

Back in January of this year, an article on BuzzFeed discussing How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Petersen went viral - it was “liked” more than 50k times on Twitter. But mental health-related issues are not limited to millennials - It affects one in four people in the world, regardless of generation. Recently, J.W Thompson Intelligence called out some technologies and arts used together in places of transit to combat societal anxiety across the globe.

(picture from J.W Thompson Intelligence)

May was "Mental Health Awareness Month" and conversations about mental health issues trend upwards during this time of year. But as greater numbers of people are diagnosed with mental illness and the burgeoning “anxiety economy” seeks to cash in on this trend, conversations are not just limited to specific times of awareness.  The Research, Planning & Measurement team at Finn Partners Digital Practice dug into the data to uncover exactly what people talk about when they discuss mental health. We found that females are leading every single day of the conversation; hashtags and emojis usage are focused on self-love, hope, and encouragement. We have also identified eight trends within the mental health conversation, some of them strike us as surprises.


Conversation and Sentiment overview:

415M total conversation. Conversation volume spikes happen during Blue Monday (a name given to a day in January, typically the third Monday of the month, claimed to be the most depressing day of the year), Mental Health Awareness Day, Mental Health Awareness Week, and Mental Health Awareness Month.

  • In general, the sentiment is 67% positive and 33% negative, with positive keywords and negative keywords lustrated below:

Positive keywords focus on love, help, and encouragement; and negative keywords focus on suicide, diagnosis, symptoms, and frustrations.


Popular hashtags:

Several hashtags stand out for us: #SelfCare, #SelfLove, #Mindfulness, #Meditation, #ItsOKNotToBeOK, and #TimetoTalk, showing people’s effort to raise awareness, break the stigma, and call for self-care.


Themes and trends:

The following trends were identified within the mental health discussion, which will be explored in more detail in a mental health blog series.

  1. Breaking stigma and raising awareness.
  2. Interest in celebrity mental health
  3. Interest in pop culture mental health content
  4. The intersection between fashion/design/beauty and mental health
  5. Treatment with medication
  6. Alternative and complementary treatment: meditation, mindfulness, etc.
  7. The glamorization of mental illness
  8. Self-initiated storytelling

Popular emojis:

Emojis have been widely applied throughout conversations online. Popular ones feature hope, love, prayer, tears of joy, and sadness.



Female voices are not only producing a higher volume of posts but also leading every single day of the 365 days of monitored conversation. Male and female voice volume spikes are the same, which indicates that while not as prevalent, the male voice is responding to the same time of increased awareness as the female voice - e.g. awareness days/months, etc.

People who are interested in mental health discussion also seem to be interested in overall healthy living and wellness, medical health, spirituality, medical tests, and NPOs.

Finn Partners will continue monitoring conversations on wellbeing over the next year. As for now, let’s stay mindful and carry on.



FINN Partners’ Research, Planning & Measurement team is the agency’s research and intelligence group providing a full array of primary research and big data analysis instruments to inform creative platforms, plan marketing campaigns and measure effectiveness. To learn more, email



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