Mental health: In celebration of crying

On World Mental Health Day, in the second week of October, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a €100 million mental healthcare campaign, with plans to include a 24-hour suicide helpline. However, what is making waves internationally is La Lloreria, or “The Crying Room” – built in the heart of Madrid – which aims to tackle the stigma around crying and asking for help.

Further south, in Bogotá, Colombia, a new hotline number has been set up to answer calls from men who are jealous, fearful or controlling, or who call often in tears, not knowing what to do.

No matter where in the world you are, why is there a stigma around crying, even after science has long proven it to be a good exit?

Professor Rashana Johari, Director, Center for Psychotherapy and Clinical Research, Ambedkar University

a. rashana johari

There is a clear prohibition on crying, especially in public but even in intimate places, because crying is about shame, dependence, vulnerability – all things we are not supposed to express. This applies more to men. When men express themselves and cry, it is considered inappropriate – only sometimes it can be considered “charming”.

For The Crying Room, simply making room to cry is a very symbolic gesture; Crying is a desire to be heard, and people need more than just empty spaces. We need a more social world, better support systems, and most of all, people who are there to listen to someone else’s cry.

Dr.. Gaurav Decca, Founder and Director of Cognial Hillers Academy

Doctor.  Gaurav Decca
Doctor. Gaurav Decca

Crying is the body’s way of melting away difficult emotions that are often found in a frozen or repressed state. It is actually healing, and sometimes a lonely person may need healing.

There is a stigma around it due to the patriarchal makeup and viewpoint of society, where crying is strongly associated with being weak, and often feminine. It is, in fact, a gender-neutral phenomenon, a beautiful expression of complex emotions.

Dr.. Deepak Rahija, Psychiatrist, Psychiatrist and Director, Hope Care India

Doctor.  Deepak Raheja
Doctor. Deepak Raheja

Crying is a beautiful technique if used appropriately. If you go back 20 or 30 years ago when the old saying “Mard ko dard nahi hota” was prevalent, men were seen as the fortress of women, and women had to play the stereotypical roles they were assigned. But over the years we’ve come to realize that emotions are single-sex. And if they’re both genders, we should allow men to explore their “feminine” sides – by that I mean only the finer and more wonderful nuances of life, and vice versa.

What we really need to discuss is sensitivity and empathy. As a friend, grandmother, partner or husband, if someone breaks up in front of you, they are willing to open up to you. This takes a lot, and you have to make them feel safe.

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From HT Brunch, November 28, 2021

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