This Saturday, I attended NAMI's Depressed Cake Shop to buy treats to benefit NAMI and to help raise awareness about mental health issues. Anyone who knows me knows I'm always down for cupcakes; especially when they're for a cause.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is dedicated to promoting awareness of mental health issues and providing support for those living with mental illness. They have chapters all over America, including in Seattle. This was their fourth annual Depressed Cake Shop, an event which gathers together members of the community to become more informed on mental health issues and to help raise money for the programs that NAMI puts on.
The theme of the treats was simple: gray on the outside, colorful on the inside, to show that everyone has the strength and sheer capacity inside them to make it through anything life throws their way. Personally, I thought this was a brilliant approach, as it promoted hope alongside awareness. This is a perspective that, I feel, more appropriately includes members of the population this movement is looking to help. It can be difficult to read articles and attend events that distance those with mental health disorders from the rest of the population by talking about us as our disorders instead of as people. As important as it is to know more about mental health conditions, the dialogue is so much stronger when it doesn't have to dehumanize us.
I was so impressed with how many people showed up: when Evelyn and I got there, the line wrapped around the building and was almost out the door. This made sense, considering the 800+ people who RSVP'd to the Facebook event. Even so, it was amazing seeing members of my community come together in support of mental health.
Of course, you don't have to wait in line for an hour to show your support for those with mental health disorders. Taking as little as 15 minutes to read a little bit more about mental health can do so much. Offer support to the people in your life who struggle with mental health issues: whether it's picking up groceries for them or giving a shoulder to cry on, even the motion of offering to be there for someone can do so much. Think critically about how your choices affect those with mental health disorders. This is especially important in light of the upcoming presidential election. Your vote can go a long way to provide the necessary medical, psychological, and social support so needed by so many people with mental health disorders.