Why Elmo’s tweet was an important reminder
The childhood icon Elmo continues to teach children and adults alike valuable life lessons. Last week, Elmo tweeted on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?” The question heard around the world resulted in many replies from social media users using the tweet as a mental health check in – some expressing hardships or sharing how their day was going.
Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?
— Elmo (@elmo) January 29, 2024
By asking others a similar question, you can help strangers, friends and family members find the support they need.
“Asking how someone is doing and using open ended questions is opening up an opportunity for them to talk,” explains Dr. Munther Barakat, the director of behavioral health therapy at Aurora Health Care. “If someone is ready to talk about their feelings, they usually will. Sometimes they just need an opening to begin the discussion.”
After asking someone how they are doing and they explain or show signs that they are struggling with their mental health, you may be unsure of what to do next. Dr. Barakat suggests:
- Be non-judgmental
- Don’t try to problem solve
- Listen empathically
- Act as a supportive person in their life
- Help them find mental health resources
Aside from channeling your inner Elmo and asking how someone is doing, there are other ways you can support someone who is facing mental health struggles.
“When you find someone who is struggling daily and things don’t seem to be getting better for them, be prepared to encourage them to access professional mental health care,” says Dr. Barakat. “They can start by talking to their primary care physician about their feelings. These physicians are usually equipped with information and helpful resources.”
About the Author
Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Science in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in healthcare public relations and content marketing for over tfive years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.