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, the platform 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 and counting 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 wrote, "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, 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. And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic cut off so many of us from friends, loved ones, and support systems, exacerbating loneliness and isolation."
In response to the outpouring of feelings evoked by his question, 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.
Amid all of the responses to Elmo's post over the past several days, President Joe Biden also took notice.
"I know how hard it is some days to sweep the clouds away and get to sunnier days," he wrote Tuesday in a post on the official POTUS account on X.
He continued, "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."
The official "Sesame Street" account also replied to Elmo's tweet this week, providing a link to mental health resources.
"Mental health is health! For #EmotionalWellBeing resources and more, visit @SesameWorkshop: http://Sesame.org/MentalHealth," the show wrote in a post on X.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide -- free, confidential help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call or text the national lifeline at 988. Even if you feel like it, you are not alone.