The world lost a talented entertainer Monday with the death of Robin Williams.

Williams was an incredibly funny and creative man - on the outside. Inside, he was dealing with mental issues that eventually caused him to take his own life.

Williams wasn't secretive about his battles with depression and substance abuse. He talked freely about his fight, but he wasn't able to win the war.

What Williams fought was an illness ... just like cancer and Alzheimer's are illnesses.

We're still in the shock and mourning stage, but if anything positive is to come of this tragedy, we hope it is that mental health issues will get more attention.

We must redouble our efforts and take on the growing issue of mental illness in this country.

Yes, we've heard that call before, and the response has been unsatisfactory.

Williams had the resources to obtain the very best of doctors and to have access to treatment centers, but money isn't always the answer. Too many individuals are falling through the cracks because of the stigma still attached to mental illnesses.

Regardless of the source of one's disorder, we must do a better job identifying the problem and getting help.

At the local level, there are organizations such as Centerstone and LifeSprings and individuals that can offer assistance or suggest where to get it.

Professional mental health providers, clergy, family physicians, school counselors all are equipped to help individuals find appropriate guidance.

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing difficulty coping with life, seek professional help. There is no shame in acknowledging you are dealing with a mental illness.