Spain’s ‘Crying Room’ seeks to banish mental health taboo

MADRID (Reuters) – “Come in and weep,” one sign told visitors. Another note flashed in pink: “I also struggle with anxiety.” There are phones in a corner with the names of people you can call when you’re feeling down, including a psychologist.

Welcome to La Lloreria, or the crying room. Anyone can visit the project, located in a building in the center of Madrid, which aims to remove the stigma in society associated with mental health, cry and seek help.

“It’s a really great idea to imagine a mental health issue. It’s just as stigmatized to cry in Spain as it is in many other countries,” said Jon Nilsom, a Swedish student who lives in the Spanish capital.

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A woman reads slogans at a place crying out called “La Lloreria” for mental health awareness in Madrid, Spain, October 17, 2021. REUTERS/Juan Medina

A week ago, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez separately announced a €100 million ($116 million) mental healthcare campaign, which will include services such as a 24-hour suicide helpline.

“It’s not a taboo, it’s a public health problem we have to talk about, show it and act accordingly,” he said of mental illness when he launched the plan on October 10, World Mental Health Day.

In 2019, 3,671 people died by suicide in Spain, the second most common cause of death after natural causes. One in 10 teens has been diagnosed with a mental health condition while 5.8% of the total population suffers from anxiety, according to government data.

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(Michael Gore reports) Writing by Graham Kelly. Edited by Praveen Shar

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