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Elmo, from ‘Sesame Street,’ reopens the debate on mental health with four words: ‘How is everybody doing?’

Over 16,000 people have shared their emotional discomfort through the muppet’s X account. Cookie Monster, Big Bird and even President Biden have joined in

Elmo Barrio Sésamo
Elmo at the Sesame Street Charity Gala on May 27, 2023, in New York.Paul Zimmerman (WireImage/Getty Images)
Jesús Delgado Barroso

Mental health is at the center of social debate, especially after the Covid pandemic. Figures show a global surge in mental illness, but it is not just the numbers that are helping raise awareness. The most famous red muppet from Sesame Street has also done his part. Elmo, who has more than 524,000 followers on the social media platform X, only had to ask a single question: “Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?” To the surprise of many, message began to pour in, with different people expressing their negative feelings and emotions.

“Wife left me. Daughters don’t respect me. My job is a joke. Any more questions, Elmo??? Jesus man,” one user vented. “The world is burning around us, Elmo,” wrote another. Some painted dire personal situations: “Every morning, I cannot wait to go back to sleep. Every Monday, I cannot wait for Friday to come. Every single day and every single week for life.” Even actress Rachel Zegler (West Side Story, Shazam) confessed that she was “resisting the urge to tell Elmo that I am kinda sad.” More than 16,000 users of the social network have shown their melancholy mood by responding to Elmo’s tweet, which had accumulated 198.7 million views by Thursday after it was posted on Monday, January 29. Within hours of the flood of responses, the official Sesame Street X account shared a follow-up post to redirect users to mental health resources.

The number of responses, mostly negative, has been seen as a worrying situation by many. As one user pointed out: “We started this year. STARTED IT. by trauma dumping so hard on elmo the official sesame street account had to tweet out mental health resources. God help us.” Even U.S. President Joe Biden expressed his concern with a message: “I know how hard it is some days to sweep the clouds away and get to sunnier days. Our friend Elmo is right. We have to be there for each other, offer our help to a neighbor in need, and above all else, ask for help when we need it. Even though it’s hard, you’re never alone.” After two days of receiving messages, Elmo spoke again: “Wow! Elmo is glad he asked! Elmo learned that it is important to ask a friend how they are doing. Elmo will check in again soon, friends! Elmo loves you. #EmotionalWellbeing.”

Other members of the Sesame Street gang have echoed the barrage of responses and have intervened in the matter, offering their ears to whoever needs to be heard. Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus publicly thanked Elmo for being a good friend. “Me here to talk it out whenever you want. Me will also supply cookies,” the blue muppet responded to Elmo. “I love being a Snuffleupagus because I have huge ears that are made to listen to you share your feelings,” said Snuffy in a post of his own. Although not everyone was so kind. “I’m not great at listening to others share their big feelings, but my worm Slimey is. You should talk with him if you ever need to chat,” stated Oscar the Grouch.

With the hashtag #EmotionalWellbeing, Elmo has started a campaign of comfort and positivity and has gotten all his friends to join together to raise awareness about the importance of having good mental health. It is not the first time that the characters of Sesame Street come together to raise awareness among children about an issue that affects society. In 2021, President Biden asked Big Bird to encourage children and young people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. “I was vaccinated today. My wings hurt. But I will give my body a boost of additional protection that will keep me and others safe,” the animal stated that year on its social media accounts.

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