Emoji on the Loose, Promoting Mental Health

Emoji on the Loose, Promoting Mental Health

Depression and anxiety are daily companions for many of us, and maintaining our mental health in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis can be especially difficult. So much depends on our ability to find help when we need it. And so much depends on finding ways to lighten the load for those who carry it.

Ian Charnas, Cleveland-based artist, engineer, and co-founder of Sears think[box], offers a whimsical way to promote mental health via his innovative fundraising project for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He’s unleashing a unique set of 36 new emoji upon the unsuspecting world.

Emoji on the Loose, Promoting Mental HealthQuite a few of the characters, including an” irresistibly cute” Brain Fart (Charnas’s favorite) and the “must-have” Dumpster Fire, have already been turned loose by donations to AFSP. Perhaps one of the most unusual emojis in the squad is an Actual Eggplant, which Charnas asserts will allow us “to finally text about eggplant again in polite society.”

These emoji, as well as their yet-to-be-freed companions, are part of Charnas’s project to help prevent suicide. As Charnas explains, “As the fundraising total grows, new emoji are released at various milestones to keep the momentum going.”

That’s the genius of this fundraising project–Charnas created 36 individual goals (36 emoji), and milestones of achieving those goals can be easily achieved. The first goal, freedom for the Brain Fart, was achieved when $25 had been donated. Reaching the final fundraising goal of $10,000 allows all 36 emoji to be freed.

That goal is well on its way to successfully freeing all the emoji, but several must still be unlocked and released by donations. Visit https://forbiddenemoji.com/ to see which emoji need your help. Any donation–small or large–adds incrementally to arriving at the next goal and contributes to suicide prevention. You’ll also find links by which you can download the freed emoji to your iPhone or Android at no cost.

The fundraiser is personal for Charnas, who lost his mother to suicide. He notes that suicide prevention is especially critical because of the social isolation necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Increased levels of fear and stress result in an increased risk of suicide. If you know someone who has experienced depression, he asks that you reach out to them.

We’ve listed below resources that can help if you are experiencing depression or anxiety.

Mental Health Resources:

  1. From Cuyahoga County Board of Health:

 If you are experiencing stress or anxiety:

  • You can call the Cuyahoga County Warmline at 440-886-5950 to talk though things with a peer. The warmline operates daily from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.
  • You can text “4hope” to 741741, the Crisis Text Line.
  • You can Call the NAMI Greater Cleveland Helpline for support at 217-875-7776

If you are in crisis:

Please call the 24-hour Suicide Prevention, Mental Health/Addiction Crisis, Information and Referral Hotline at 216-623-6888.

You can text “4hope” to 741741, the Crisis Text Line.

Your Mental Health is important! Keep all of your behavioral healthcare appointments. You may receive care in new ways, like over the telephone or even by video chat. Call your behavioral healthcare provider directly for more information about appointments.

  1. Thrive Peer Support: https://thrivepeersupport.org/
  2. NAMI Greater Cleveland: During these uncertain times, NAMI Greater Cleveland remains here for you. Feeling anxious about COVID 19? Call our Helpline at 216-875-7776.

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