Zachary Young


MentSum: A Resource for Exploring Summarization of Mental Health Online Posts
Sajad Sotudeh | Nazli Goharian | Zachary Young
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Mental health remains a significant challenge of public health worldwide. With increasing popularity of online platforms, many use the platforms to share their mental health conditions, express their feelings, and seek help from the community and counselors. Some of these platforms, such as Reachout, are dedicated forums where the users register to seek help. Others such as Reddit provide subreddits where the users publicly but anonymously post their mental health distress. Although posts are of varying length, it is beneficial to provide a short, but informative summary for fast processing by the counselors. To facilitate research in summarization of mental health online posts, we introduce Mental Health Summarization dataset, MentSum, containing over 24k carefully selected user posts from Reddit, along with their short user-written summary (called TLDR) in English from 43 mental health subreddits. This domain-specific dataset could be of interest not only for generating short summaries on Reddit, but also for generating summaries of posts on the dedicated mental health forums such as Reachout. We further evaluate both extractive and abstractive state-of-the-art summarization baselines in terms of Rouge scores, and finally conduct an in-depth human evaluation study of both user-written and system-generated summaries, highlighting challenges in this research.