October 4, 2023

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Cry Out Loud: Spain’s ‘Crying Room’ is set to break mental health stigma

Discussions and talks around mental health have only recently gained momentum. For eons, it has been neglected or stigmatised to create a more “so called” strong, self-sufficient society. While physical conditions and problems are visible and can be diagnosed efficiently, mental health issues are often sidelined since it is hardly noticeable with the naked eye.

Read more: 7 signs you’re ‘bottling up’ your emotions and fighting your own battles

Taking on the initiative to break stereotypes and mental health taboos, a building in the Spanish capital Madrid has introduced a “crying room”, a safe space where people can let their guards down, cry, seek help and more. The project aims to do away with social stigma around mental health and help people realise that it is ‘okay’ to ask for help.

La Lloreria or the Crying Room: What and where is it?

Situated in central Madrid, Spain, La Lloreria or the Crying Room has signs that read “Enter and Cry” or ” “I too have anxiety”. Both these signs normalize the idea of crying and dealing with anxiety. There is a sense of solidarity, a feeling of inclusiveness. One is made to feel that they’re not alone in this battle against mental health issues.

On one side of the room, there are phones along with a list of people visitors can call if they want to “talk” or “express” how they’re feeling.

Given that stigma around crying, expressing sadness and mental health issues have existed for a long time, this unique concept and creative idea to set up a safe room for anyone dealing with a problem or issue in life is very encouraging and groundbreaking to an extent.

What is the objective behind this initiative?

As per government data, 3,671 people committed suicide in 2019 alone, and 5.8 percent of the total population in the country deal with anxiety. Additionally, one in ten adolescents has been diagnosed with a mental health condition.

This year, on World Mental Health Day, which falls on 10th October, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a 100 million Euro or $116 million mental healthcare drive, which would include a 24hr suicide helpline. “It is not a taboo, it is a public health problem that we must talk about, make visible, and act accordingly,” the Prime Minister said.

But stigma around mental health is not just a Spanish issue, rather a global crisis. In India itself, one in every 20 Indians suffers from depression, as per a WHO report. The World Health Organization states that India leads the list of countries most affected by anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, with about 38 million people suffering from anxiety disorders.

Why we must stir conversations around mental health

Following the novel coronavirus, mental health discussions and conversations have become more prevalent. However, there is never a good time or a bad time to talk about our mental health. It is something that is constantly there and until and unless we make it a point to normalize conversations around it, make it more known, people will still hesitate to express, share their grief and may become more prone to further complications.