Wagamama and Mind team up to support mental health awareness in Exeter
During mental health awareness week, we were invited to attend a wellbeing blogger event in support of Wagamama’s mindful campaign, supporting Mind (the leading mental health charity in England and Wales) by encouraging more conversation around mental health. Wagamama will dedicate the funds raised from the campaign to the Mind infoline. 25p from super green and power juices sales go to Mind.
They have raised over £25,000 since launching, and pledge to raise another £50,000 by October 2019. I was looking forward to attending this event as it was for such a good cause. Mind is a charity I hold a lot of respect for having experienced mental health difficulties myself and having worked for the NHS supporting patients through their mental health.
I’d never been to Wagamama before, but I’ve always wanted to go. The Exeter restaurant is located in Princesshay, next door to Costa Coffee, it has a lovely inviting glass front. On arrival, I was greeted by Dorota who welcomed me in. I met Liz there and other lovely bloggers who we got to know throughout the evening.
We were to sample the Mindful menu which encourages you to ‘stop and appreciate the aroma, texture, and most of all, to stop and internally and externally express gratitude’. Wagamama believes that the menu will prompt you to engage at least three of the five senses (sight, scent and sound).
We started with the juices. Liz ordered the Positive juice made with pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber and apple. She described it as refreshing and hit the spot. I had the repair juice, after having a sleepless night feeding my baby I thought it might help! It consisted of kale, apple, lime and pear. It was very sweet which is just what I like. It gave me a little energy boost!
Filling up on foodie goodness
We then had a selection of sides including mixed mushroom and panko aubergine Hirata buns. They were beautiful. Very rich in flavour and moreish. I could have had several of these. We also had the Edamame. They were a lovely bright green colour, and the beans inside were smooth and tasty. Everyone on the table had a large plateful of these.
We were shown the kitchen and how they separate food for allergies and vegetarians. The kitchen was clean and well maintained. The chefs were working hard but appeared calm and friendly.
For the main course, Liz had the Harusame glass noodle salad. Liz was already full of all the lovely side dishes we had sampled; she found this was a great dish as it wasn’t too heavy but full of flavour. I had the teriyaki donburi which was beautiful. The sauce had a deep flavour which ran through the sweet rice.
After the main course, we decided to colour in! We were given mindful colouring sheets and pencils and we all had a go. We found it deeply relaxing. Liz coloured hers in extremely psychedelic colours, mine was a little boring in comparison, so I felt like I had to up my game a bit! It was a lot of fun. We felt like kids with no responsibilities.
We were full but we wanted to sample a dessert, so Liz and I shared a scoop each of lemongrass and lime sorbet with pink guava and passion fruit sorbet. It was very refreshing after the meal. I think we were both overwhelmed by the intense but delicious flavour of the lemongrass and lime.
We had a lovely time, and we’d like to thank Doreta and all the lovely staff that helped us feel mentally and internally nourished.
A nourished body certainly aids a nourished mind. I would love to prepare and eat many of the Wagamama delights we experienced on a regular basis, as I recognise how food and wellbeing are linked, but a busy work life and being a mummy of two doesn’t always permit that. However, just one small thing each day can play a massive role in enhanced wellbeing: whether it’s a walk to the shops, a 10 minute yoga stretch, or a day of healthy eating. It’s great that Wagamama are promoting this worthy cause and actually making a difference to those affected by mental health issues through the charity mind. You too can make a difference by nourishing yourselves at Wagamama whilst helping others. Just make sure you leave enough time for the colouring in!
Let’s talk about mental health
We can’t forget the whole reason for this event is to raise awareness of mental health and how talking about it is crucial. So, here’s my story of how mental health has affected my family and me.
This time exactly seven years ago I had a lively but adorable 1-year-old son and a beautiful 3-week old daughter. I loved and adored them (I still do obviously). However, postnatal depression started to loom over me like a dark shadow. I could feel it creeping just before my daughter was born. But for me, it was my utter irrational fear of death that grasped hold of me. I wasn’t able to sleep because I’d be indulging in thoughts about worse case scenarios.
I felt like I should be so happy, but because I had so much love for my family I felt that if it would be taken away from me, it would break me. I knew that baby blues could last for a couple of weeks, but as a midwife myself (at the time) I knew it wasn’t right for me to still feel this way.
So, one night in February I lay on the sofa, feeling down. I talked to my husband and discussed my constant fear of death, and how I intended on phoning the GP the following week if I still felt this way. The next day I took my daughter for her newborn hearing screening, while my in-laws looked after my son. After the appointment, I went to pick him up, I walked up to the door – as I had done many times before (I have dated my husband since I was 16, we are a close family) – I knocked on the door and my father in law answered. At this point he would usually joke to me, “We don’t want any thanks” and he’d merrily close the door on me and then let me in with a grin on his face. So of course, when he answered the door and said “we’ve had some bad news” I laughed and headed in.
He then said “No, REALLY bad news”
..my heart stopped. I held my breath as I walked through the door. What could this news be? I don’t remember my dear father-in-law’s exact words but the police have just left and informed them that my brother in law, Neil had died.
It was suicide.
This was the biggest shock. It was February and we had seen a lot of him over Christmas and new year as we did every Christmas period. Neil was the comedian of the family. He brought a lot of laughter and happiness to all of us. He was the one who was always the logical thinker. The one who would find a positive in the darkest of situations.
What we didn’t know, was what was really going on. The rest of the day was pure hell for all the family. This week marks the 7-year anniversary of this day. 2012 was a tough year of the family in regards to mental health. We learned the importance of talking to each other about our feelings and to not assume that a person is fine.
For me, my PND turned to grief and it was an extremely difficult time, having just had a baby. It was meant to be such a happy joyful time, but of course, mental health holds no prisoners. The whole family was grief struck and found it hard to find the happiness we were meant to have. We were meant to be enjoying our daughter’s firsts that year. We hardly remember them. By mid-2013, I felt my PND became less and less and I finally pulled through the other side of the thick fog. I could finally start socialising again and felt like there was a reason to live again.
In 2018 I worked as a clinical advisor for 111, and I found at least 50% of my calls were mental health related and I would have at least one call per shift from someone who had suicidal thoughts. The services are limited, and there’s not enough of them. Because of this, we need to help each other, we need to especially encourage each other to talk. Even just a text to your friends now and then asking if they are ok.
Everyone post their happy photos on social media, but you won’t know what’s going on inside their heads. Just because they appear perfectly happy online or even in person, it doesn’t mean they are.
I don’t often talk about my experiences for fear of making someone feel awkward, but then you find that most people have been affected by mental health one way or other and it makes them feel better by finding out they are not alone.
So, let’s talk.
If you are having problems or if Charlene’s story resonates with you, Please seek help!
Mind‘s lines are open 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays). 0300 123 3393, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Samaritans call free any time, from any phone on 116 123.
Or call 111
About the author:
Lene Langley has been exploring Exeter and Devon since she moved here in 2015 with her husband and 2 (now 3) children. She previously lived in Derbyshire and worked as a general nurse and midwife. She always had an interest in photography and cinematography and loves to make short films of her travels with her family around the UK & Europe and has began working on her next project ‘Moments to Movies’ creating short films for other people who also wish to document their travels, weddings and other experiences on film as well as videography for other small businesses.
Tags: asian food, Eating out, Exeter, mental health, Mind, Wagamama