Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 25 July |
The Feast of Saint James the Great
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

This “town of the loonies” strives to be a model of inclusivity, acceptance, and beauty


Fati Cevallos Correa | Twitter

Sophia Swinford - published on 09/20/18

40 Mural artists are working to change attitudes about mental health in the small Spanish town of San Boi.

Founded in 1855, the mental health hospital at the centre of San Boi in Spain is what gave the town its nickname, “the town of the loonies.” According to the locals, when you come from San Boi, you get used to the nickname from neighboring towns, but now local artists are seeking to change the perception of the town not by hiding the psychiatric hospital but rather by breaking down the prejudice surrounding it.

Though they admit that the interactions between patients and local residents have resulted in some awkward situations, most locals are familiar with the presence of the hospital and its patients as part of normal life. “Residents are in need of social interaction,” Nien Boots, a staff member at the hospital says. “They will sit down with you at the terrace or try to talk with you on the street. Everybody gets a bit lonely sometimes.”

Boots, whose family is personally affected by mental illness, spearheaded the joint effort of 40 European artists to create a mural for the hospital that will seek to change attitudes around mental health.

The hospital already possesses an artistic heritage, with patients even having helped with refurbishments in the early 20th century, but now the walls surrounding the hospital have become deteriorated and tarnished by graffiti. The artists involved are re-doing the walls with a mural to encourage others to come see the hospital and not be hesitant or anxious around it.

By transforming this unappealing exterior into a place of beauty and healing, these artists will help reflect a warm and welcoming attitude towards people in any state of mental health.


Read more:
Why taking a bath can improve your mental health

ArtMental Health
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
Cerith Gardiner
8 Powerful quotes from Nightbirde that will fill you with hope
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
Daniel Esparza
Who are the cherubim in the Bible?
Zelda Caldwell
Did Jesus wear “tefillin” as some observant Jews do t...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.