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LETTER: Break the Silence

If someone is being bullied, the last thing you want to do is walk away from them. They need support, and lots of it. I do not know of anyone that would walk away, or stop being friends with someone who is being bullied. That would be shameful.

We need to start treating mental illness and depression as we do with bullying. Do not walk away from those who need your help.

How can we support people successfully in a society that has mental illness and depression as taboo subjects? We need to break the silence.

Generally speaking, there are two types of people. There are the people that would prefer to wear rose-colored glasses, and pretend that there is no problem. Then there are the people who keep quiet. The ones that believe their depression is like a dirty little family secret.

The sad thing is, everyone has their own family secrets, and yet nobody is willing to talk about it! I have had my own dealings with mental illness and depression. In my darkest hours, I had most of the people I thought were my "support system" turn their backs on me. I do not blame any of them. They just didn't know how to help.

Just like with bullying, showing your support for the person in need can make a world of difference, even if that is all you can do! It is time to bring these "dirty little family secrets" to light.

 I am no longer afraid. I am a suicide attempt survivor. I feel that if I can break the silence, I may be able to give confidence to someone else who needs to reach out for help. You are NEVER alone, no matter how lonely the world may seem. Do not give up. Ask for help. Break the silence! 

Collen Welsh -- Grand Forks