Louisiana Women: Local woman survives suicide attempt, advocates to bring mental health resources to schools

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BATON ROUGE, LA (BRPROUD) – A local woman lived to share her suicide attempt story with the world, and now she hopes to use her second chance at life to advocate for mental health awareness and resources in schools. Carly Laing sat down with her in this week’s Louisiana Women.

Anxiety and depression, something that many people struggle with, especially young adults and teens.

“I can honestly say that I had never heard the two words mental, and health put together. I was so ashamed of my feelings and even accept that those were my feelings let alone speak of them,” said Emma Benoit.

Sadly, it’s the cause of about 20 suicides a day in the U.S.

It’s a deep, dark place 20-year-old Emma Benoit experienced firsthand.

“My life felt like it was crumbling down all around me, and I had no hope,” said Benoit.

On the outside she looked like your typical high schooler, popular and happy.

“I was a varsity cheerleader, I was a flyer, I was a tumbler,” said Benoit.

But on the inside, she was crying for help. In June 2017 Emma tried to take her own life. Thankfully, Emma is still with us.

“It was in that exact moment that I was sitting there thinking about everything that I had tried to do and my life kind of slapped me across the face and gave me some perspective,” said Benoit.

After her suicide attempt, Emma faced the scary thoughts she had kept bottled up in her head.

“The moment I realized what I had tried to do, everything changed for me,” said Benoit.

While working on her mental health, she also had to rebuild her physical health.

“To lose those abilities, it really humbled me. So, I really got a sense of my issues and my problems, and I really learned how to accept them and how to overcome them because of what I had gone through,” said Benoit.

On her road to recovery, she realized just how impactful her second shot at life can be.

“To start breaking that stigma down is to just talk, have these types of conversations, to put it out on the table and just be honest,” said Benoit.

Emma now advocates for mental health awareness and is pushing for schools to implement suicide prevention programs.

“Mental health is an issue in this country, in this entire world, it’s an issue,” said Benoit.

Some days are still tough, but Emma is tougher.

“Every single day I wake up and I’m like how did I get here? Then I have to look back and remember how far I’ve come,” said Benoit.

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