While viral videos often try and summon laughs, shocks, or all of the above, some of the most memorable and moving online films of recent years have encouraged millions to think about their own actions, specifically where mental health issues are concerned.
The videos depict a concerned but unaware relative telling a loved one to "snap out of it" or "just get over it," all the while not realizing that the person they're addressing isn't simply down in the dumps.
The heart-grabbing conversation-starters have found a real-world and sweetly surprising advocate in the Depressed Cake Shop. The confection-making collective is comprised of a "community of bakers and makers committed to ending the stigma surrounding mental illness one gray cake at a time."
Those gray cakes, which have become symbols of the ever-growing movement, will be for sale at a two-day pop-up shop in Santa Monica on Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7. The beneficiary? The St. Joseph Center in Venice.
"The Depressed Cake Shop believes that mental health issues will be more effectively managed when there is an open dialogue and that is what we are working to create," says the Depressed Cake Shop's Valerie Van Galder. "Our gray cakes are a visual metaphor for the cloud that can descend during a depressive episode."
And opening reception on the evening of May 6 will also feature art and music. The Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 3 o'clock, and the address is 2912 Main (at Streetcraft LA).
Mugs, jewelry, and wearables will also be for sale. Proceeds from t-shirts from Wear Your Label will benefit St. Joseph Center's Mental Health Initiatives.
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"The energy and community created at our shops has proved transformative for the organizers as well as our customers," shares Ms. Van Galder.
Stop by the pop-up, purchase a cake or tee, lend love and funds to St. Joseph Center's important programs, and help continue the wider, urgently necessary push for stigma-free dialogue and supportive understanding.