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Welcome to La Lloreria, the 'crying room' in Madrid tackling mental health stigma

Inside Madrid's 'crying room', where there are phones with the names of people you can call when you are feeling down.
Inside Madrid's 'crying room', where there are phones with the names of people you can call when you are feeling down.   -   Copyright  JUAN MEDINA/REUTERS
By Euronews and Reuters

At the heart of Madrid, there's a pink-hued room where you can go to cry.

La Lloreria, or the "crying room," is a project housed in a building in the Spanish capital, which aims to remove the stigma in society attached to mental health, crying and seeking help.

Anyone can visit.

A sign that reads "enter and cry" greets visitors, while "I also have anxiety" glows comfortingly on an open cage, symbolic of the inner turmoil that can leave people feeling trapped - but also offering a release.

There are phones in one corner with the names of people you can call when you are feeling down, including a psychologist.

"It is a really excellent idea to visualise the mental health issue. It is stigmatised to cry in Spain as in many other countries," said Jon Nelssom, a Swedish student who lives in the Spanish capital.

JUAN MEDINA/REUTERS
The neon message on the cage reads: “I also have anxiety.”JUAN MEDINA/REUTERS

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

"It is not a taboo, it is a public health problem that we must talk about, make visible and act accordingly," he said of mental illness as he launched the plan on World Mental Health Day on October 10.

In 2019, 3,671 people died from suicide in Spain, the second most common cause of death after natural causes.

One in 10 adolescents has been diagnosed with a mental health condition while 5.8 per cent of the overall population suffers from anxiety, according to government data.