HEALTHY MIND MATTERS

‘Elmo loves you!’ Our favorite red Muppet stars in mental health campaign

May 17, 2024, 4:48 PM | Updated: 5:45 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we all deal with stress and different emotions. It can be stressful learning how to manage them, so why not enlist the help of someone we all know and love?

In January, one of the world’s most beloved TV characters asked a simple question online that sparked a huge conversation.

“Elmo is just checking in!” he wrote. “How is everybody doing?”

The tweet garnered tens of thousands of responses – showing that people appreciated that someone seemed to care.

According to the CDC, 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 kids in the U.S. experience mental illness.

“Our nation is in the midst of a national mental health crisis that is impacting our youth, our children, and our adolescents, so it’s such a key time to be increasing awareness and normalizing conversations about mental health and connecting people with resources,” Dr. Amanda Fujiki, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Huntsman Mental Health Institute, said.

That’s where our favorite red Muppet comes back in.

As part of their ongoing “Love, Your Mind” campaign, Huntsman Mental Health Institute and the Ad Council teamed up with Sesame Workshop to provide resources for families, including two short videos featuring Elmo and his friends to demonstrate simple ways to manage intense emotions.

“There are things that we can do every day as a family to take care of our mental health and well-being, and it’s never too early to start having these conversations,” Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer at the Ad Council, said.

The first video addresses the benefits of humming. The clip shows Elmo and friends humming the Sesame Street theme song, with Elmo adding: “Elmo’s daddy taught him that when he has a big feeling like being frustrated, humming a song can help you feel better!”

“Humming is a calming way for a child to take a pause when they’re experiencing an intense emotion. It gives them just a little bit of space to identify what they’re feeling and then decide what to do next,” Fujiki said.

The second PSA was released this month and encourages children to find joy in laughter.

Elmo and his friends laugh together in video created by Huntsman Mental Health Institute and the Ad Council in Sesame Workshop video. (Screenshot from Sesame Workshop)

“Elmo loves to giggle!” the muppet exclaims. “Elmo’s mommy taught him that laughing can help when you have a big feeling like when you feel happy.”

“Laughter is a fun, relaxing activity that children can use to celebrate joyful moments in their lives with the people around them,” Fujiki said.

These videos were released in both English and Spanish.

For more mental health resources, you can visit LoveYourMindToday.org.

If you or a loved is in immediate crisis, help is available. Call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.


Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 which is answered 24/7/365 by crisis counselors at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. All calls to legacy crisis hotlines, including the old National Suicide Prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255, will also connect to a crisis care worker at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute as well.

Additional resources

SafeUT: Parents, students, and educators can connect with a licensed crisis counselor through chat by downloading the SafeUT app or by calling 833-3SAFEUT (833-372-3388)

SafeUT Frontline: First responders, including firefighters, law enforcement, EMS, and healthcare professionals can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUT Frontline app.

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‘Elmo loves you!’ Our favorite red Muppet stars in mental health campaign