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La Llorería
Photograph: La Llorería

Could this ‘crying room’ in Spain help fight stigma against mental illness?

The Insta-friendly installation is a space for locals to talk about their problems and reach out for help

Sophie Dickinson
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Sophie Dickinson
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A whole load of immersive exhibitions have popped up around the world over the past few years. While some are super-colourful retrospectives of long-dead white dudes – and others one-off installations by contemporary artists – there’s a new space opening in Madrid that has a more serious purpose.

It may be bathed in a pink glow and contain all the feed-ready props your heart desires – but La Lloreria is no gimmick.

Among the all graphic signs, colourful flooring and photo-optimised lighting, there are numbers you can call to speak to mental health experts, including a psychologist. Right in the centre of Spain’s capital, the neon-lit venue – which translates as ‘crying room’ – is meant to fight the taboo around mental health (and talking about it). It gets its name from a Spanish phrase, which roughly means the ‘if you want to cry, go to the crying room’. Dismissive, yes. In this case, though, the saying has been reclaimed. No shame in crying at all, is the gist.

Anyone can drop into the space to discuss their feelings and seek help. Decorations include plush chaises longues and a cage festooned with the words ‘I have anxiety too’. If places like La Lloreria what it takes to help people talk about their problems, then we’ll very happily get behind them.

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