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Seattle's 'Depressed Cake Shop' is a sweet way to talk about a serious subject

Dozens of bakeries and confectioners donate to the annual bake sale, benefiting NAMI of Seattle and promoting mental health awareness

SEATTLE — Mark your calendars for a unique and tasty event this weekend: the Depressed Cake Shop.

The annual bake sale has an important underlying message: mental health awareness. All proceeds benefit the National Alliance on Mental Health in Seattle.

"This is something that's sweet, literally and metaphorically, so that we can make the conversation easier,” said Maddy Noonan, Communications and Outreach manager for NAMI Seattle.

Credit: NAMI Seattle
Cakes symbolic of mental health often have grey icing on the outside and bright colors inside.

Dozens of local bakers and confectioners contribute to the event, offering their takes on "depressed cakes." Many are covered in grey frosting, but when sliced open they reveal layers of color.

"Symbolically, this is about the public face we sometimes have to put on, on our good days or our bad days,” Noonan said. "It's about relieving the stigma that comes from having depression or an invisible illness that you might not always be able to share."

More than 50 bakeries participate. Deep Sea Sugar and Salt in Georgetown is one of them, and owner Charlie Dunmire said donating her time is a no-brainer.

Credit: KING TV
Charlie Dunmire, owner of Deep Sea Sugar and Salt, has donated her time and treats to Depressed Cake Shop for five years.

"Mental health is a huge issue and it needs more recognition than it's getting,” she said. “We want to do our part to raise the awareness, and if we can do that with our cakes, then why not?"

All proceeds make sure the public can access NAMI's resources for free. 

Every year, lines for Depressed Cake Shop are out the door.

"I think it says a lot about Seattle and its community - how many people are rallying around this, and how they believe in this cause,” Dunmire said.

Credit: NAMI Seattle
Lines for the annual Depressed Cake Shop in Seattle are often out the door.

It's something sweet in recognition of something sad - and a reminder, we're all in this together.

"These cakes are a cute way of saying, even if you're not happy all the time, that's okay. Neither are we,” Noonan said.

The 2019 Depressed Cake Shop is Saturday, October 12 from 11am - 2pm inside Optimism Brewing Company on Capitol Hill. The People’s Burger food truck will also be on-site, and kids and dogs are welcome.

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