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Models for Mental Health event aims to end stigma

Shawna Coleman, left, and Lily DeYoung are organizing the Models for Mental Health event for the fourth and final year. It will be held Nov. 5.
Shawna Coleman, left, and Lily DeYoung are organizing the Models for Mental Health event for the fourth and final year. It will be held Nov. 5.

NEW GLASGOW Models for Mental Health is retuning for a fourth and final year.

The event, which was started and is still organized by volunteers Lily DeYoung and Shawna Coleman, will be held this year on Nov. 5 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Summer Street Industries.

Money raised at the fundraiser will once again be going to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, but as is in previous years, it will be earmarked for programs in Pictou County.

In the past, funds have helped support New Hope, Preserving our Mental Health, Roots for Youth and other programs in the community.

While they try to inject a few new elements each year, DeYoung said it will be a similar format to other years with the fashion show, silent auction as well as a 50/50 draw and cash bar. Starr Dobson, President of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, will once again emcee the event. Fashions will be by Marj Hatherly, Ladies Consignment Shop, Tatamagouche. Features fashions will be available after the show for purchase.

“It’s a fun afternoon, “Coleman said. “People come and seem to really enjoy themselves.”

While raising money in an important part of the event, she said they also want to help keep people informed.

“We want to create awareness and continue the conversation about changing the way people think and lifting the stigma,“ DeYoung said.

This will be the last year the event is held, but the pair said they’ll be looking at something in the future to replace it.

“Everything goes out of fashion,” DeYoung said.

What she’s enjoyed most about taking part is the excitement of people who wanted to be involved. “It’s amazing how many people contact us who say, ‘how can we help?’ ‘Can we model.’”

Coleman said there are a lot of moving parts to contend with to make this event a success, but it’s inspiring to be a part of.

“It always leaves you with a nice sense of accomplishment at the end,” she said.

“We always have a wonderful crowd and great community support and great community involvement.”

Tickets can be purchased at any Scotiabank in Pictou County for $20.

There is also an option to pay it forward.

“If you want to purchase a ticket and you know you can’t make it you can purchase a ticket and we will find homes for those tickets,” Coleman explained.

Communications rep for Models for Mental Health Kim Dickson said that the leadership provided by Coleman and DeYoung has been a key element in the success of the Models for Mental Health Fashion Show and Fundraiser since its inception.

“It was an instant success due in large part to their presence in the community and the respect they have earned,” she said.

“They are passionate to raise awareness, to eliminate the stigma connected to mental health challenges and to help and support those and their families dealing with these challenges. They want to give back to their community and the community has rallied and responded with great generosity and kindness. The Models for Mental Health Fashion Show enables meaningful participation from so many and that is also an important part of its appeal."

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