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Planet Comicon panel takes aim at mental health

Posted at 6:29 PM, Feb 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-16 19:44:48-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Planet Comicon is finally here in Kansas City, and you’ll probably see a little bit of everything.

From superheroes to villains, people can be whoever they want.

"I think it's kind of cool that we can get into costumes and kind of do whatever with people who are doing the exact same thing as us," April Roller said. "So we're not getting judged for it and it's like not like 'ok, those people are weird.'"

For April Roller, it’s a sense of belonging.

“It's like you come in here and you're like ‘oh my gosh! you're a family’ and you've never met the person before in your life,” Roller said.

Roller works with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and shares how cosplay can serve as a coping mechanism.

“Cosplay, in essence, is a coping mechanism so there's research by the name of Durkheim and he looks at how social isolation increases a person's suicidal ideation,” Roller said. “When you're part of a fandom or when you're cosplaying and you're getting that positive feedback it actually lowers that suicidal ideation.”

Roller, who lost her husband in 2013, says this has been her outlet.

“I started cosplaying as that and I found a lot of peace and also love and comfort,” she said,

The "Supernatural" fan said she enjoys a family of strangers coming together.

“When you have that sense of belonging and you're like "No, I matter. My life matters. I belong here,'" Roller said. “And the sense of I’m not alone.”

Roller will be having a panel at Planet Comicon both Saturday and Sunday.