By the newly bloomed roses, a small, quaint booth was positioned in the center of Tiffany Loop. At this small booth, SPU’s National Alliance on Mental Illness, known as NAMI, featured a table with various cupcakes on display.
These cupcakes were far from traditional, as they were covered in gray frosting. The dark and dull gray colors evoked a solemn feeling among the buyers. However, upon taking a bite into the delicious treats, the inside of the goods were filled with bright colors.
On Friday, May 25, SPU’s NAMI club hosted their annual Depressed Cake Shop bake sale to help spread awareness of the experience of mental illness through the unique treats.
Members of the NAMI club and bakeries like Le Panier and Trophy Cupcakes prepared the baked goods for the event. Each of the cupcakes had their own distinct colors inside, while slices of cake had every color of the rainbow.
SPU’s NAMI club is connected to the national NAMI organization. Their goal is to create awareness about people who struggle with mental illness on and off campus, and to help students feel welcome and appreciated.
SPU junior and President of NAMI Jessi Morris said, “Depressed Cake Shop is a grassroots organization that sells baked goods to raise awareness of mental illness. Anyone can set up a Depressed Cake Shop stand, and all the funds are donated to local organizations that help individuals and their families who are struggling with mental illness.”
In 2013, the Depressed Cake Shop started as a pop-up shop in the United Kingdom. After gaining attention and success, the Depressed Cake Shop has opened different pop-up shops and booths all over the world.
The Depressed Cake Shop has become an annual event at SPU and occurs in May of each year.
“May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so we’re really looking to raise awareness of mental health on campus, which is NAMI SPU’s primary purpose,” Sarah-Ann Moh, the club’s treasurer, said.
At the event, students were free to approach the stand and buy pastries or hear from club members about the meaning behind the cupcakes. Members of NAMI provided pamphlets and information about mental illness for all who expressed interest.
Morris explained that all of the proceeds from the event would be donated to NAMI Greater Seattle, which is the largest organization assisting those with mental illness in the community.
Junior Hannah Landies believes that the Depressed Cake Shop, “confronts the stigma of mental illness with such a simple image: gray frosting covering a rainbow cake.”
“The gray frosting seems to represent the experience of mental illness and what people may think of when they consider the topic. The rainbow cake highlights that there is both hope for those coping with mental illness, and there is more to a person than their illness,” Landies said.
“We hope that this event will remind our community that there are individuals here at SPU, and in the greater community, who struggle with mental illness,” Morris said.
Through information and conversation, the club helped make the SPU community more aware and educated on the topic. Additionally, through the selling of baked goods, NAMI helped to show the struggle as well as the hope for those with mental illness.