A local restauranteur is looking to change the stigma around mental health and raise awareness for different disorders through a fundraiser next week.
On Wednesday, Jim Hayden – part owner of the Noodle Box at Uptown, Shelbourne, Douglas Street and Langford – will be selling select boxes for $5, with all proceeds going to the Canadian Mental Health Association. Hayden started the fundraiser three years ago at the Southeast Asian noodle bar’s Shelbourne location, adding it’s a cause that is close to his heart.
“I chose the Canadian Mental Health Association because I lost my brother to mental health,” said Hayden. “He committed suicide in 2010. He struggled with mental health growing up and had a lot of insecurities that followed alongside.
“I’ve struggled with depression through the loss of my brother. This is a way that I can help people out who are afraid to speak up about their personal problems.”
New this year, all four of Hayden’s locations will be participating in the fundraiser. Hayden said he’s received a huge response from customers over the last three years, with thousands of people coming through to support the cause of mental health.
“It was incredible seeing the amount of people that came from the community and spoke to me about their stories about mental health,” said Hayden. “They just expressed their gratitude in such a strong way.”
According to the CMHA, one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime.
“Mental health is something that affects everyone in one way or another,” he said. “It’s something that’s slowly being brought to the attention of our community and our country and the world as a whole.”
The fundraiser will feature music along with a CMHA tent. The Noodle Box will open at 11 a.m. with the fundraiser running until supplies last, so it’s best to get there early. There is a limit of two Noodle Boxes per person.
“In our first three years of doing it, at the Shelbourne location alone, we’ve ran out of food in the entire restaurant by about 6 p.m.,” he said. “We had stocked about double the amount of food that we would stock on a regular Friday night.”
For more information visit cmha.bc.ca.