Get Your Depressed Bakery Fix at These Local Sweet Spots

Eat your cake and boost mental health awareness, too.

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and several Central Texas bakeries are lending their talent to the list of Depressed Cake Shops. Sales benefit NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Central Texas.

Along with all the mega corporations competing to demonstrate their empathy for your feelings (Burger King’s widely mocked Sad Meal, anyone?), comes a bevy of sincerely minded local efforts to signal boost the importance of starting the difficult conversations about mental health. One of the most ambitious of these is the partnership between NAMI Central Texas (formerly NAMI Austin) and local bakeries to create a network of Depressed Cake Shops.

So what’s a Depressed Cake Shop? NAMI is using our cultural association between sadness and sweets (think Bridget Jones crying her way through a pint of ice cream, or a rejected Elle Woods throwing a box of truffles at the TV) to create a special menu of desserts decorated to highlight themes of mental illness and recovery.

The pastries are decorated in gray to represent the fog enveloping those of us struggling with our mental health, with a little splash of color to symbolize the hope of healing NAMI offers with services such as free mental health education, support, and advocacy programs. Each treat comes with free conversation cards offering suggestions for good ways to start the process of communicating honestly about our mental health. Think gray glazed cupcakes, an ombre cake iced half in grayscale and half in rainbow, or cookies with inspiring messages written in gray icing. NAMI hopes that these offerings will provide an unthreatening, and highly photogenic, place for the healing to start.

So where can you get your Depression Bakery fix? Participating Austin area locations include Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop, Fat Cats Organic Coffee & Desserts, Le Politique, Zucchini Kill, Confituras, and Dripping Springs bakery Skull & Cakebones, where co-owner Sascha Biesi will also be hosting hosting free community mental health workshops throughout Mental Health Month. NAMI hopes that these efforts will increase mental health awareness, and make it a little bit easier to start the difficult conversations that are necessary as the Austin community comes together to raise awareness about the importance of mental health.

For a full list of events, see www.depressedcakeshop.com/blog/dcsandskullandcakebones

For a full list of participating bakeries, see www.namiaustin.org/events/mentalhealthmonth/depressed-cake-shop/

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