Fashion show aims to fight mental health, suicide

Runway 2 Life is a fashion show that combats mental illness, suicide

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Models are preparing for the third annual “Runway 2 Life” fashion show.

The show does more than just promote fashion. It also works to tackle mental health and suicide prevention within the community.

When it comes to mental health you never know who’s truly dealing with it. It can hide under a mask of happiness, but this year the nonprofit Runway 2 Life is facing the issue head-on with the theme “not today.”

“We want people to know that no today any longer that we want any more lives to be taken,” Runway 2 Life founder Alicia Amsler said. “It’s the beauty industry coming together collaborating with fashion, all for a great cause, talking about a subject that can be hard.”

That subject is mental health and suicide prevention.

Runway2Life fashion show flyer
Runway2Life fashion show flyer (Source: NBC12)

“We do so much to make people look so great on the outside that we want to help people fix themselves on the inside as well," Amsler said.

For the past few years the non profit “Runway 2 life” has used fashion as a bridge to connect with people who may be struggling with depression.

Amsler said having fun community events like this removes the stigma.

“It’s us making our community safer by being able to say it sounds like you have a lot going on, lets bring in someone else that can help you with what’s going on,” Amsler said.

The nonprofit focuses on training unofficial therapists, such as hairstylists and bartenders, to listen for signs of depression and suicide.

“The words people may say is ‘life is too much,’ ‘I’m just in the way,’ ‘I just feel like I’m a nuisance,’” Amsler said.

The show plans to use the models who have stories to tell themselves to connect with the audience.

“People don’t want to die. They don’t want to die, and that’s the confusion," Amsler said. It’s that people want to live. We all have a will to live. It’s that you want the pain to end."

Amsler said while depression hides behind a mask of happiness, the goal is to create hope, awareness and education to help people live meaningful lives.

“Our first year, we know 13 lives were saved, and that’s because we got them into resources and helped them,Amsler said. “Since then, it’s been hundreds.”

Doors open for VIP at 6:30 p.m. and for general admission at 7 p.m. at Richmond’s Main St. station. For more information on how to purchase tickets, click here.

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