Amanda Pendolino
August 15, 2013

‘Depressed Cake Shop’ Sells Grey Cakes for Mental Illness Awareness

How can we remove the stigma of mental illness? Let them eat cake!

A movement called the Depressed Cake Shop is selling grey cakes to raise awareness and start a conversation about depression.

“The concept is: make grey cakes, sell grey cakes and create a platform for discussion and media coverage,” says Emma Thomas, a London-based PR specialist and creative director behind the initiative. “And I think that’s what we’ve done.”

In the past, Emma’s agency has used baked goods to promote other causes: sushi-shaped treats to benefit tsunami victims, tech-themed cakes to raise money for pancreatic cancer charities after the death of Steve Jobs.

It might seem strange to buy (and eat!) grey cake for the sake of mental illness awareness, but Emma says the unique approach is exactly what works.

“People can engage on a light level,” she explains. “It doesn’t have to be heavy, and they don’t have to go jogging. It enables people to support charity by just buying cake.”

At first, I thought, “hmm — these don’t seem appetizing” — and then I was inspired to write this post. Emma’s really on to something; the more creative and unusual you can be in your approach to an issue, the more people will want to engage.

The Depressed Cake Shop doesn’t just refer to one single bakery — anybody can start a pop-up and join the movement. You just have to sell only grey cakes, and you have to donate the proceeds to a mental health charity. Making sure your treats are delicious seems pretty important too!

Word is spreading fast: grey cakes have popped up everywhere from Malaysia to San Francisco, with more plans for Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York.

To find a location or host your own Depressed Cake Shop, visit the official site for more info.