Promises and premises: Emoji in youth mental health and emotional well-being
Communication is fundamental for preventing and managing youth mental health, and for effectively maintaining and improving their emotional wellbeing. Nevertheless, crucial challenges to communication in this context remain. In recent years rapid technological change has produced increasingly complex forms of communication, which hold out great promise in this area. Emoji have the potential to play a key role in the communication of mental health-related information in areas such as: self-disclosure, engagement, treatment intervention, and mental health education. However, compared with their roles in other fields (e.g., computer science, communication, marketing), emoji in the mental health domain have been largely overlooked by both communication scholars and health care professionals alike. Building on their cognitive, emotional and interpersonal aspects, this paper outlines potential applications for emoji in the field of youth mental health, while also pointing out challenges to their use. It then offers recommendations for mental health organizations, public health organizations, social media platforms, high-tech companies, and the Emoji Unicode Consortium..
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