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‘Let it out’: Iceland offering coronavirus stress relief by broadcasting world’s screams

Iceland offers opportunity to scream into landscapes
Iceland offers opportunity to scream into landscapes

It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine, but maybe screaming is — at least during a pandemic.

Many are feeling increasingly stressed and frustrated because of coronavirus lockdowns around the world, and Iceland seems to have the answer. The country launched Let It Out on Thursday, an initiative that encourages everyone to record their guttural screams of frustration and release them into Iceland’s beautiful, wide-open spaces.

Not only are the screams broadcast on the initiative’s website, they are also played in seven different remote locations in the country — like Viðey in Reykjavík, Festarfjall by Grindavík, Skógafoss, close to Djúpivogur, at the foot of Snæfellsjökull, by Kálfshamarsvík and by Rauðasandur in the Westfjords — through bright-yellow speakers.

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Everyone who participates will receive a video of their own yelp being played in one of the locations.

“Looks like you’ve been through a lot,” Inspired by Iceland tweeted on July 15. “It looks like you need to let it out. It looks like you need Iceland.”

The promotional video features people doing puzzles and cutting their hair, at-home activities that became popular during lockdown. The montage is followed by people screaming into the abyss.

By going to lookslikeyouneediceland.com, participants can record their screams while looking at numerous photos of Icelandic wildlife and landscapes.

Previously recorded screams, along with corresponding names and locations, are broadcast while sitting on the webpage, in case you prefer to listen to someone else’s outburst.

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It’s inspired by the practice of “scream therapy,” the initiative’s news release says.

“We want to draw prospective tourists’ attention to the fact that it’s relatively safe to travel to Iceland and that here you can experience beautiful nature without crowds, which is something that we think people will seek out when interest in travel increases again,” Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, tourism director for Promote Iceland, told Iceland Review.

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“It is important to draw attention to Iceland’s advantages now. People are dreaming about the time when it will be possible to travel again and even planning trips in the near future,” she added. “We want to be a part of that conversation.”

While the campaign is light-hearted, Promote Iceland also wants to encourage people to take their mental health seriously.

“This is a starting point,” Zoë Aston, a therapist and mental health consultant, told CBS News. “If you need mental health support, it is imperative that you seek out professional help.”

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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