The Swiss are being encouraged to put away their fears and prejudices and remember all those who are ill as the country marks the Day of the Sick on Sunday.
"Our society is afraid of suffering... But suffering is part of reality, and we must all learn to live with it. People who are suffering often have a lot to teach us about it," said Swiss President Pascal Couchepin in a broadcast address to mark the occasion.
People who are ill, and particularly those suffering from mental illnesses, are often the butt of prejudice, Couchepin warned. "Let us help to reduce these prejudices, in ourselves and in society."
He also called on his listeners to remember those who have to watch their nearest and dearest suffering, and to try to find ways to help them.
The Day of the Sick was first held in 1939. The aim is to encourage people to think about the sick and their needs, and to give recognition to those who look after them either professionally or privately.
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