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Hierarchical Convolutional Attention Network for Depression Detection on Social Media and Its Impact During Pandemic
journal contributionposted on 2023-03-31, 00:17 authored by Hamad Zogan, Imran RazzakImran Razzak, Shoaib Jameel, Guandong Xu
People across the globe have felt and are still going through the impact of COVID-19. Some of them share their feelings and suffering online via different online social media networks such as Twitter. Due to strict restrictions to reduce the spread of the novel virus, many people are forced to stay at home, which significantly impacts people's mental health. It is mainly because the pandemic has directly affected the lives of the people who were not allowed to leave home due to strict government restrictions. Researchers must mine the related human-generated data and get insights from it to influence government policies and address people's needs. In this paper, we study social media data to understand how COVID-19 has impacted people's depression. We share a large-scale COVID-19 dataset that can be used to analyze depression. We also have modeled the tweets of depressed and non-depressed users before and after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, we developed a new approach based on Hierarchical Convolutional Neural Network (HCN) that extracts fine-grained and relevant content on user historical posts. HCN considers the hierarchical structure of user tweets and contains an attention mechanism that can locate the crucial words and tweets in a user document while also considering the context. Our new approach is capable of detecting depressed users occurring within the COVID-19 time frame. Our results on benchmark datasets show that many non-depressed people became depressed during the COVID-19 pandemic.