Danville fashion show combines mental health and fashion


DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) – The Many Faces of Mental Health fashion show took place today at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

The owner of Focus Point Mental Health organized the fashion show in an effort to end the stigma behind mental health.

“Very often people don’t want to talk about mental health. This is a way to get people out to enjoy themselves, have fun, to get excited about something and give them information about mental health as well.” said Angela Williams, owner of Focus Point Mental Health.

The models in the show came from all walks of life.

“Some of the models in the fashion show are professional models, then we have persons who actually suffer from mental illness,” said Williams. “Then, we also have persons that may want to model but they were a little shy or may have anxiety. That’s where ‘the many faces of mental health’ came from because not everybody looks like they have a mental health diagnosis. On any given day any of us could have depression or anxiety or any other diagnosis.

Many of the clothing designs represented bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression as a way for the designers to show how a mental illness can sometimes feel.

“When you put on fresh clothes you feel better and sometimes whatever you wear you can tell what another person is feeling so that’s what we’re here to do,” said Williams.

One of the goals for the show is to showcase mental health through fashion.

“In today’s world, a lot of our youth express themselves through fashion. With everything going on in the world, mental health is at an all time high with all the diagnoses that we have. I definitely believe that fashion is a silent way to speak how you feel,” said Kelly Cunningham, Creative Director for the fashion show.

For Maurie Van Buren, it’s a way for her son to step out of his comfort zone.

“It’s something that he’s never done before and he had the courage to do it. I’m so proud of him for that. Trying new things can be hard for people with limitations. So, I feel like he believes that this is important and I do too,” said Maurie Van Buren, fashion show participant.

A portion of the proceeds from the show went to the focus point nonprofit that helps those who can’t afford therapy get the help they need.

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