The Depressed Cake Shop: Awareness About Depression and Mental Health Disorders
Aug 17, 2015 06:10 AM EDT | By Alexis Villarias
A feeling of elation usually comes after consuming a particularly good dessert. However, The Depressed Bakeshop may have something more in mind than creating sinful decadents. Part of a series of global events, these bakers create baked goods painted gray on the outside yet colourful in the inside to raise awareness about depression and mental health disorders. The element of gray on these baked goods signifies the emotion one feels when struggling with mental health issues. The organizers aim to remove the social stigma that comes with mental disorder and to make it easier to talk about the illness over dessert.
A photo posted by Depressed Cake Shop L.A. (@depressedcakeshopla) on Dec 14, 2013 at 2:29pm PST
According to NAMI, "One in five adults experiences a mental health condition every year. One in twenty lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to the person directly experiencing a mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected". Awareness has increased over time however the stigma surrounding them is still present making it difficult to address the illness in the same manner as a physical disease, thus making it harder to seek help. This movement was originated by Emma Thomas in the United Kingdom. This was supposed to be a one-time event however, others picked up the idea and the movement grew. Now the Depressed Cake Shop assists people in organizing pop-up shows all over the world. They may not personally oversee each location but they offer creative guidance instead. Participants just need to abide with the two rules: sell only gray baked goods and give the proceeds to a mental health charity. So far, the Depressed Cake Shop has hosted 30 pop-up events, at least 50 off-shoots and has raised $70,000 as of date.
A photo posted by Jun (@jlmamangon) on Aug 15, 2015 at 2:12pm PDT
People who participate with the Depressed Cake Shop often have experienced mental disorder themselves or a family member or friend they care about. In an interview with Valerie Van Galder, one of the organizers, in UPWORTHY, she said that she was inspired by it because of her father. In 2009, she had to leave her job because her dad was too sick. She couldn't handle caring for her dad and working. She also added that it is very difficult to access quality service. The stigma is also a barrier to treatment. "We're not a charity. We're a social awareness program to create conversation and help de-stigmatize mental illnesses", she said.
The best part in all of this is good feeling you get after helping others. "It's incredible. It's been a very healing thing for me," Valerie said. "It's created a community of friends, a network of support I never could have imagined."
A pop-up was held in Orange County, California last August 15 and all proceeds went to Mental Health Association of Orange County.
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