Well-Being//

This Student Art Project Is Trying to Change the Conversation About Crying in Public

It’s called, appropriately, the “Cry Closet.”

From “crying rooms” to crying-friendly signage, jokes and memes about crying areas are everywhere. If you’ve ever felt tears welling up in an inconvenient setting—at work, at school, anywhere in public—you’re not alone, these memes suggest. But it’s also clear, from the humor and derision that accompany pretty much any mention of crying in public, that our society is not at all comfortable with public displays of emotion.

Enter the Cry Closet, which recently appeared during final exams at the University of Utah’s Salt Lake City campus: a small structure in the university library inviting students in, one at a time, to cuddle with some very sad-looking stuffed animals and privately let their tears flow (as long as they kept their emotional outbursts to under ten minutes).   

Even though some internet naysayers labeled the closet as an example of millennial fragility and their inability to cope with adult life, the closet was actually a conversation-starting woodshop project designed by University of Utah student Nemo Miller, USA Today reported. “It’s been interesting to watch the response to this piece about human emotions, and I’m proud to see the power of art in action,” Miller said in a statement. The project and accompanying hashtag, #cryclosetuofu, were meant to start a wider (and necessary) dialogue about emotion, and it worked.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and even though the installation was met with mixed reviews on social media, it sparked an important, widespread conversation about excessive stress among college students and the benefits of emotional expression.

Read more at USA Today.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.