Sesame Street is the longest running TV show in US history, running for over 40 seasons with an estimated 77 million viewers throughout the years. This season, Sesame Street tries to reduce the stigma around addiction.
A big part of Sesame Street is showing kids the world at a young age and introducing them to new concepts. The show has now brought on a new muppet, Karli, whose mother struggles with opioid addiction. Sesame Street has always been a comforting show for children, and it is important to address this issue in a delicate way for children to understand.
In another segment Karli is explaining to Elmo where her mom is. She says she has to go to a meeting where she talks about “grown-up problems” with other people with the same problem and this is how she gets better. At these meetings she learns how to take better care of herself because she wants to stay healthy.
Sesame Street also introduced a 10-year-old girl named Salia whose parents needed to go away for 60 days of treatment. This situation was tough for Salia, and it gave her “big feelings” that were hard for her to deal with on her own. The segment goes to show her meditating with her mom to cope with these overwhelming feelings. The show also emphasizes talking about it and for Salia writing in her journal was a positive outlet for her. When talking about addiction, it is described as a sickness when someone becomes too attracted to doing something repeatedly. Her parents explain to her that they want to stay healthy in order to make sure the family does, too.
Sesame Street does a good job introducing this fragile topic to a young audience in a way that they can understand without explicitly describing the harsh realities of addiction.