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Suicide survivor shares her story of Invisible Illnesses on national stage

Emily Torchiana speaks at a Jefferson Awards event (Chip Baysden for WCIV)

It's the culmination of a year of hard work and in some cases, a lifetime of work.

The Jefferson Awards Foundation will hold their national gala in Washington D.C. Thursday night.

ABC News 4 has been a media partner with the Jefferson Awards for nearly two years. We have featured people across the tri-county area who have gone above and beyond in the area of community service and volunteerism.

The national gala brings together people from all walks of life from all across the country, including our local representative Emily Torchiana.

A recent College Of Charleston graduate, Emily is up for a national award.

Emily Torchiana was chosen for her work helping young adults contemplating suicide.

Emily shared part of her story at a pre-gala event Thursday morning.

"If you saw me on the street, you wouldn't know I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You wouldn't know I suffer from depression or social anxiety. You wouldn't know I attempted suicide in high school after being severely cyber-bullied through an anonymous Facebook profile or that I had received psychiatric treatment," she said. "You can't physically see my mental illnesses but that doesn't mean they are not there. By sharing my story with students across the country, I realized there were many out there who could relate to my experiences with mental illness."

Emily's non-profit, Invisible Illnesses, hosts workshops to educate both students and parents on mental health and suicide prevention.

"My hope is to help those who are silently struggling, like I once did, know that they are not alone."

As part of her trip, Emily met with Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Tim Scott.

The Jefferson Awards Foundation, founded in 1972 by the American Institute for Public Service, empowers others to have a maximum impact on the things and people they care about the most.

They provide Jefferson Awards for Public Service at both the national and local levels to ordinary citizens who do extraordinary things without asking for recognition.

To see their stories, visit our Jefferson Awards section here.

ABC News 4 has committed to profile people in the Lowcountry who go above and beyond by giving their time and talents to help the people around them. It's all part of our partnership with the Jefferson Awards, a national organization dedicated to recognizing and celebrating those who serve and lead.

If you would like to share someone's story of volunteerism who needs to be recognized, click here.

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