COVID-19 Blues: Lockdowns and Mental Health-Related Google Searches in Latin America

32 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2020 Last revised: 10 Feb 2021

See all articles by Lauren Hoehn-Velasco

Lauren Hoehn-Velasco

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Jose Roberto Balmori de la Miyar

University Anahuac Mexico, Business and Economics School

Abel Rodriguez

Tecnológico de Monterrey

Adan Silverio-Murillo

School of Government, Tecnologico de Monterrey

Date Written: July 24, 2020

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the relationship between the COVID-19 lockdowns and mental health-related Google searches throughout Latin America. Using Google Trends data and an event-study design, we explore the association between country-specific stay-at-home orders and internet searches including the following words: insomnia, stress, anxiety, sadness, depression, and suicide. Our results show three main patterns. First, searches for insomnia peak but then decline. Second, searches for stress, anxiety, and sadness increase and remain high throughout the lockdown. Third, there is no substantial change in depression-related or suicide-related searches after the lockdown. Combined, our results suggest that, in Latin America, Google searches for words associated with mild mental health disorders increased during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

Keywords: Mental Health; COVID-19; Latin America

JEL Classification: H84, I12, I15, J18

Suggested Citation

Hoehn-Velasco, Lauren and Balmori de la Miyar, Jose Roberto and Rodriguez, Abel and Silverio-Murillo, Adan, COVID-19 Blues: Lockdowns and Mental Health-Related Google Searches in Latin America (July 24, 2020). Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3659942 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3659942

Lauren Hoehn-Velasco (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies ( email )

Department of Economics
35 Broad Street, 6th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

Jose Roberto Balmori de la Miyar

University Anahuac Mexico, Business and Economics School ( email )

Av de las Torres 131
Olivar de los Padres
Mexico City, Mexico City 01780
Mexico

Abel Rodriguez

Tecnológico de Monterrey ( email )

Av. Revolución 756,
Nonoalco, Benito Juárez
Ciudad de México, 03700
Mexico

Adan Silverio-Murillo

School of Government, Tecnologico de Monterrey ( email )

Calle del Puente 222
Mexico City, 04210
Mexico

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