A national personal development and mindset coach has launched a hug emoji to help people give each other emotional support during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ross McWilliam, a National Trainer for Mental Health First Aid England, said that people across the UK were struggling with the emotional and psychological effects of lockdown.
Ross, a former teacher and commercial manager at Preston North End, said the “Sending You A Big Hug” emoji was a way to connect with friends and loved ones and show them that you are thinking of them, even though you could not visit or spend time with them.
It can be downloaded and shared via social media, email, text or any other messaging service and has already been shared hundreds of times.
It was launched on Ross’s Facebook and Twitter pages with the simple message: “We all need a hug more than ever at the moment, so we can feel loved and care for. So here’s a quick way to send those you care about a hug. Send a hug to as many people as you can – it might make a real difference to their day.”
The emoji features two hugging figures in the rainbow colours which have been adopted as a symbol of hope during the crisis.
Ross said: “The figures are deliberately generic, so that they can represent every relationship type there is. For some people it could be a man hugging his wife, for others it could be a woman hugging her mother or a child hugging a grandparent.
“This lockdown may be a necessary step to take to protect physical health, but it may well come at a cost to people’s emotional and mental health.
“People need to feel that they have not been forgotten about and have the chance to show others that they care.”