Muppet's Mom Struggles With Addiction as 'Sesame Street' Tackles Substance Abuse
Sesame Workshop
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Karli, a yellow-haired green six-year-old, tells her friends her mother is "going through a tough time."

A new Muppet on 'Sesame Street' is going to help children deal with a very adult issue -- substance abuse.

In a series of videos produced by Sesame Workshop, the company behind the beloved show, six-year-old Karli, a yellow-haired green Muppet introduced in May, tells her friends she was in foster care because her mother was dealing with addiction.

"My mom needs help learning to take better care of herself," she said in one clip. "So she talks to people with the same problem."

According to a statement by Sesame Workshop, there are nearly 6 million children under the age of 11 living with a parent who has a substance abuse problem.

"When you understand the impact it has on young children, and the trauma that it can cause, the impact that has on their healthy development, you realize why it's so important that we're creating tools to help address these issues," Sherrie Westin, President of Social Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, told TODAY.

In another video, Karlie explains, "If you're going through a tough time, I've learned that it's OK to be sad or mad or scared because, well, sometimes when you love someone so much, and when they're going through a tough time, sometimes it makes you feel sad and scared, but that's OK," she says. "It's OK to talk about those things. It feels good to talk about those things."

"For children who connect to Karli, hearing, 'It's not your fault -- you are not alone, and there are safe people and places that can help,' opens a path to hope and healing," Jerry Moe, national director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Children's Program, said in the statement.

Karlie explained in subsequent clips that she herself goes to meetings to talk about her feelings with other Muppets as her mother focuses on her recovery.

This isn't the first time "Sesame Street" has tackled difficult subjects. Last year, homelessness was addressed with the help of a seven-year-old Muppet named Lily. In 2017, Julia, a Muppet with autism, was introduced. And Alex became the first Muppet to have a father in jail in 2013.

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