Ascension Parish's Emma Benoit shares story on Dr. Phil show

Staff Report
Emma Benoit is shown during her appearance on Dr. Phil.

Emma Benoit of Ascension Parish appeared on the national television program Dr. Phil in hopes of reaching young people struggling with their mental health.

A former Dutchtown High School student, she was left paralyzed at 16 years old following a suicide attempt.

Now 22 years old, Benoit told host Dr. Phil McGraw she was a cheerleader and a "picture-perfect American girl" who may have seemed happy to others but was secretly struggling with anxiety and depression.

She was among several guests who appeared on the hour-long show "Inside America’s Teen Mental Health Crisis," which centered on the mental health issues young people are facing across the nation.

“My Ascension” centers on Emma Benoit, a 16-year-old cheerleader who went to Dutchtown High School, and her suicide attempt that left her paralyzed.

At the beginning of 2022, all four public high schools in Ascension Parish hosted viewings of the My Ascension suicide prevention documentary, which chronicle's Benoit's journey to walk again.

The film also highlights the stories of two young people who tragically did not survive their attempts. It explores the devastating effects of suicide and what can be done to prevent it.

Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or who may be concerned about the mental health of a loved one are now able to dial 988 and get fast, free, trained and confidential help from a network of 200-plus local crisis centers nationwide.

If you are in crisis, get immediate help:

  • Call 911
  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline): 988 for English or Spanish, or Lifeline Chat. TTY users can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text SIGNS to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free crisis counseling
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: CALL or TEXT 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish)

Gonzales Weekly Citizen and Donaldsonville Chief, part of the USA Today Network of Louisiana, cover Ascension Parish and the greater Baton Rouge area. Follow at and