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The Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm) and comedian Rosie Jones are urging the Unicode Consortium – which is responsible for emoji – to consider the move to help people take the first steps towards telling someone they are struggling with their mental wellbeing.
They believe in some cases talking about deeper matters needs to start with a lighter non-intimidating moment like a simple emoji.
It comes a year after the UK’s first lockdown started and greater concerns about people’s mental health as a result of isolation.
Calm – which offers a helpline and web chat service to those who are struggling – said visits to its website from 18 to 24-year-olds have risen by 100% in the last year.
“It’s been a tough year for everyone and I have certainly had times when I have been low, and felt isolated from my friends and family,” said Jones, who is an ambassador for the charity.
“This emoji is a great way to tell loved ones that things aren’t great. It’s an easy and simple way to reach out for help and start the conversation.”
According to a survey of more than 2,000 people by the charity, only 13% of people believe there is currently an emoji that helps them express when they are struggling with their mental wellbeing.
“Emojis are an excellent way of expressing emotion online – in fact, this is one of the main reasons for their huge success,” said emoji expert Dr Philip Sergeant.
“And although the popular image of them is upbeat and perhaps even a little bit frivolous, they’re used for all sorts of important, often serious situations.
“So they can be a perfect way to quickly and easily highlight how you’re feeling, and reach out to those around you.”
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