It wasn’t the most “Sunny Day” on Jan. 29, 2024, although Elmo did sweep some clouds away. Yes, our favorite Sesame Street muppet, Elmo, may have tweeted the most important tweet of the year. He asked how we were all doing.
While this may seem cute and innocuous, it led to a barrage of tweets trauma dumping onto the 3-year-old (44-year-old) red-haired muppet.
People grew increasingly honest and vulnerable with Elmo as they recounted their trauma and how they were feeling. It seems like everyone really needed someone to just ask how they are … and maybe give them a hug.
Elmo asked how the internet was and they responded with many trauma dump tweets.
Elmo set the storm off with his first tweet, “Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?” Perhaps the team of Sesame Street knew that the internet would be brutally honest, giving them some publicity right before Elmo’s 44th 3rd birthday on Feb. 3. But we doubt they knew the tweet would get so popular, it would even garner the attention of POTUS.
People’s answers ranged from the vague and relatable, like “Elmo we are tired,” to the specific and personal, like “Wife left me, Daughters don’t respect me, My job is a joke, Any more questions, Elmo??? Jesus man.” As more responses rolled in, people became aware that we were just all trauma dumping onto Elmo, and apparently we needed the catharsis.
Even famous people and corporations put their two cents in. “I’m kind of a crossroads and frankly could use a little support,” The Office star Rainn Wilson said. “Suffering,” added the Among Us official account. At least Chance the Rapper is doing all right! “Honestly, I’m in a really good place rn,” he tweeted.
Both ‘Sesame Street’ and President Biden responded back to the trauma dump with empathy.
Instead of making a total joke of the internet’s trauma dump or even ignoring it, the team behind Elmo’s Twitter account used this as an opportunity to reach out to people struggling. “Wow! Elmo is glad he asked!” the account tweeted. “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”
Once they coined the #EmotionalWellBeing hashtag, the Sesame Street account tweeted, “Mental health is health! For #EmotionalWellBeing resources and more, visit @SesameWorkshop: http://Sesame.org/MentalHealth,” to provide resources to many of the people responding.
Many of the other residents of Sesame Street also added their voices to the mix. Cookie Monster tweeted, “Me here to talk it out whenever you want. Me will also supply cookies.” Grover added, “I, Grover, am here to be a good listener whenever you need it!” Ernie, Bert, Abby Cadabby, Snuffleupagus, and even Oscar the Grouch shared similar messages encouraging people to share their feelings and be there for each other more often.
Even Joe Biden tweeted, “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.”
While there’s not really much POTUS can do for us personally in this arena, he could put forward mental health legislation instead of just tweeting. Although it’s nice to know he encourages us to be there for each other, which is a far kinder message than his opponent’s.
Although Elmo’s whole Twitter adventure may seem like a cute 2024 fad, it’s definitely representative of a larger mental health crisis. If anything, this was a reminder that we should be more empathetic toward one another as we’re all dealing with something (unless we’re Chance the Rapper).
If you or someone you know needs help, use SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find support for mental health and substance use disorders in your area or call 1-800-662-4357 for 24-hour assistance.