A Critical Review of Text Mining Applications for Suicide Research

Curr Epidemiol Rep. 2022;9(3):126-134. doi: 10.1007/s40471-022-00293-w. Epub 2022 Jul 26.


Purpose of review: Applying text mining to suicide research holds a great deal of promise. In this manuscript, literature from 2019 to 2021 is critically reviewed for text mining projects that use electronic health records, social media data, and death records.

Recent findings: Text mining has helped identify risk factors for suicide in general and specific populations (e.g., older adults), has been combined with structured variables in EHRs to predict suicide risk, and has been used to track trends in social media suicidal discourse following population level events (e.g., COVID-19, celebrity suicides).

Summary: Future research should utilize text mining along with data linkage methods to capture more complete information on risk factors and outcomes across data sources (e.g., combining death records and EHRs), evaluate effectiveness of NLP-based intervention programs that use suicide risk prediction, establish standards for reporting accuracy of text mining programs to enable comparison across studies, and incorporate implementation science to understand feasibility, acceptability, and technical considerations.

Keywords: COVID-19; Suicide; Text mining.

Publication types

  • Review