A TEAM of scientists including University of Essex academics has analysed 94 million tweets to track the effects Covid has had on mental health.

The team worked with researchers from the University of Technology Sydney to measure date on depressions, stress, and anxiety.

The World Health Organisation highlighted early in 2020 that the pandemic would likely have a negative impact on mental health, with the disease affecting many facets of life including work, health, and relationships.

Dr Shoaib Jameel, from Essex’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering said: "During the current pandemic, we have been confined within the borders of our homes without much social contact.

"People are now using Twitter to share their feeling which might include depression-related cues without many people explicitly mentioning that they are depressed.

The research classified the content of tweets according to topic, emotion – including the use of emojis – and recognised symptoms of depression such as fatigue, weight loss, feelings of worthlessness.

“This study is important because it helps us understand the timelines when people went through depression, such as lockdown versus no lockdown."

The researcher's tweets posted in New South Wales between 1 January and 22 May 2020.

The model revealed a significant jump in depression levels at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in New South Wales, reaching a peak on 26 March 2020 that coincided with the highest number of recorded cases.

The researchers also found that more than 40 per cent of Twitter users increased tome they spent on the platform.