Benchmarking community behavioral health

Forecasting Behavioral Health Outcomes Using Google Trends

Date: June 11, 2015

2:00 PM (EDT)

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About the webinar: The incidence of suicide and other behavioral health conditions varies across space and over time. While suicide rates are regularly published at the state and local level, the relatively long lags between the event and publication of rates means that regional spikes in rates may go unnoticed for over a year. Google Trends is a free web service providing real-time information about the relative volumes of Google user web searches. Google Trends data were extracted for the 50 United States from 2005-2014 for 20 different terms. These data were used to model suicide rates, drug-induced death rates, and alcohol-induced death rates from the CDC. This type of modeling could be useful for public health practitioners to engage timely interventions to lessen suicide and other behavioral health problems.

Jason Parker is a post-doctoral researcher with the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development at Michigan State University. His formal training was in economics, and his dissertation research on common factor identification is forthcoming in the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics.