Local bakeries try to change conversation on mental health


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some local shops are trying to change the conversation about mental health.

In partnership with NAMI Austin, they are making baked goods that are dull gray on the outside, but when you cut into them, an explosion of bright colors.

Depressed Cake Shop items feature an element of gray to signify the gray cloud that can descend over a beautiful world when someone is struggling with mental health issues, NAMI Austin says on its website.

One of the bakeries involved is Drippings Springs’ Skull and Cakebones.

Sascha Biesi, the co-owner, says, “Mental health doesn’t stop after Mental Health Awareness Month and the hope behind what we’ve started this month is that we keep the conversation going.”

For Biesi, this is something she’s experienced firsthand

“I got the diagnosis for bipolar disorder [when] I was 19,” she said. 

And, inside her shop, there’s a constant reminder of how far she’s come — hidden in plain sight. 

“The lightning bolt,” she said which is a visible symbol throughout the bakery is more than just decoration. “[It] represents the electric shock therapy that I went through.”

During the Depressed Cake Shop, Biesi says they’re featuring a personal item on the menu. 

A small, triangular biscuit-like cake — a scone.

“The scones represent the light and the dark side in all of us,” she said. 

They are specifically, charcoal lemon scones in honor of Bea. 

“About two months ago, we lost one of our younger employees, she lost her battle with depression by suicide,” said Biesi. “We just didn’t see it coming.”

Now, Biesi hopes each bite will be followed-up with a discussion. 

“In order to release us from the stigma is to change the way we talk about mental illness, part of that change comes from talking about mental illness,” she said. 

For a list of bakeries in the area hosting Depressed Cake Shop goods, visit NAMIAustin.org.

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