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Suicide, depression are our nation's Scarlet A -

There is a stigma attached to mental health issues and suicidal tendencies. Very few of us will ever admit we are struggling because of the fear of how we will be perceived.

We ask ourselves painful questions: What will people think? Will I lose my job? Will people I love walk out on me? Will they think I'm too weak to handle the ups and downs of life? Will they call me "crazy" and say I somehow brought my illness on myself? These are all things that stand in the way of transparency and stop people from seeking the help they so desperately need.

Our culture is not one where we can have open and honest dialogue, and we are not in a place where we can treat mental illness the same way as other diseases. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus or a long list of other illnesses, friends rally around. But learning of mental illness can push people away.

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