Hospital set up plate-smashing booth for healthcare workers to relieve stress as Covid-19 cases surge

Business Insider US
Asia Made, 50, shows a plate with the word "COVID" written on it before smashing it into a wall in a rage room at Smash RX LLC in Westlake Village, Calif., Friday, Feb. 5, 2021.
Jae C. Hong/AP Photo
  • Hospital staff in Oregon in the US are shattering plates to release their pandemic-related stress.
  • The state is seeing record numbers of hospitalisations due to Covid, despite high overall vaccination rates.
  • The plate smashing might provide some instant relief, but won't do much for long-term mental health.
  • For more stories go to

As doctors and nurses face the never-ending stress and trauma of the pandemic, some hospitals have come up with creative ways to let their staff blow off steam.

In Oregon, hospitals are seeing record numbers of admissions due to Covid-19. The wellness department at Salem Hospital set up a plate-smashing booth for its overworked personnel.

"We put on safety glasses," Lisa, an ICU nurse, told the AP. "And we took plates and we shattered them. And I kept going back. I kept going back, and they told me I had enough turns."

Lisa, who spoke to journalists on the condition that her last name not be used due to the politicisation of the pandemic, said she is frustrated and sad to see so many Covid-19 patients in the hospital despite the wide availability of vaccines.

"We've been dealing with the second wave when we thought - I guess we hoped - it wouldn't come. And it's come. And it's harder and worse, way worse, than before," she told the AP.

Smashing things may only provide momentary relief

Rage rooms, where customers pay to destroy plates, printers, mannequins, and more, have grown somewhat popular in recent years.

The smashing spaces saw an increase in business around the 2016 presidential election, and the pandemic has clearly created more rage that needs releasing.

But the relief that comes with breaking things may be short-lived, according to Dr Scott Bea, a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Although finding a way to express repressed anger is better than keeping it in, he said relaxation techniques and cognitive restructuring are better ways to deal with tough emotions in the long term.

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