Elmo’s simple social media post reveals volumes about our mental health

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When Elmo, the beloved Sesame Street Muppet, took to social media to ask a seemingly simple question, the responses came flooding in.

“Elmo is just checking in. How is everybody doing?” the iconic character wrote in a post shared Monday on X, formerly known as Twitter, and Friday on Threads.

A wave of emotional responses from Elmo’s followers quickly came pouring in, with the post racking up over 175 million views on X alone.

One person replied, “Honestly Elmo. I need a hug.”

Another wrote, “I shouldn’t have rushed wanting to be an adult. I need a break big guy.”

In other replies, followers described feeling lonely, feeling a sense of “existential dread” and feeling like they’re just “hanging on.”

Celebrities also started to chime in on the post.

Actress Rachel Zegler replied, “Resisting the urge to tell Elmo that I am kinda sad.”

Singer, rapper and producer T-Pain posted, “I’m just looking for somebody to talk to, and show me some love if you know what I mean.”

The conversation started by Elmo’s posts put a spotlight on the mental health crisis facing both adults and young people, particularly when it comes to loneliness.

Last year, the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, issued an advisory on the “epidemic of loneliness and isolation” in the United States, writing, “In recent years, about 1 in 2 adults in America reported experiencing loneliness,” adding that was before the “isolation” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elmo shared a follow-up post Tuesday about the importance of asking a friend how they’re doing.

“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,” the character wrote on X.

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