Bake sales with bright, colorful cupcakes are known to help various groups and organizations fundraise; however, the Depressed Cake Pop-Up Shop decided to go in a different direction.
On Thursday, May 18, members of SPU’s National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) club set up shop in the middle of Martin Square for the second year in a row to raise mental health awareness.
The origin of Depressed Cake Shop actually comes from abroad. Emma Thomas, a creative director and PR specialist from the United Kingdom, birthed the idea of Depressed Cake Shop as an outlet to get local businesses involved with supporting their community.
After calling several bakeries to donate baked goods, they would set up a pop-up shop. Cakes and cupcakes are frosted gray on the outside with an array of colors on the inside.
Other items include cookies with frosted sticker on the front of the cookie that read, “Hello my name is Depressed.”
According to information presented by SPU’s NAMI club, suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds.
In fact, about two-thirds of people who commit suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths, according to research done by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care. Untreated, undiagnosed or ineffectively treated depression is the number one cause of suicide.
SPU’s NAMI club is part of NAMI Greater Seattle and aims to help people understand their mental illnesses.
NAMI provides help by educating, supporting and giving referrals to those who are in need.
The group is connected to SPU through the Dickinson’s Fellowship as part of SPU’s Living Well Initiative, a multidisciplinary educational program addressing needs of a person or families affected by severe and persistent mental health conditions, according to the SPU website.
Senior Jaime McDonald is the current vice president of SPU’s NAMI club, and she wants to put an end to the stigma connected to mental illness that she has seen.
“The thought is that you are broken, but you are not,” McDonald said. “Mental illness doesn’t define you, but it is a part of you. Your mental health matters, and you matter.”
According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behavior, or a combination of these. Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.”
Senior Jessie Comfort, a psychology major and member of the SPU NAMI club, helped plan the event by calling bakers and getting decorations ready.
“It’s so cool that SPU, by putting on this event, is partnering with an organization that puts on events all over the world,” Comfort said.
SPU’s NAMI club decided to donate all proceeds to NAMI Greater Seattle to continue to provide great services for those who need it.
NAMI Greater Seattle organization has plans to put on another Depressed Cake Shop later this fall at Optimism Brewery.
“Mental health is just like if you have diabetes and you need to take insulin every day,” Comfort said. “This is something that people live with and are affected by. It looks different for everyone.”
Depressed Cake Shop is open to anyone to bring to their community, as long as they choose a mental health organization to donate their proceeds to.
For a local baker to become involved there is only one requirement: that the baked goods donated have an element of gray to signify the gray cloud that can descend over a beautiful world when someone is struggling with mental health issues.
These treats are symbols of hope to those in an otherwise hopeless situation, just as the founder of Depressed Cake Shop intended.