ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - An Ascension Parish teen who lived to talk about her suicide attempt is sharing her story with the world. Emma Benoit has become part of a discussion that is being built around a new documentary that aims to raise awareness and prevention.
"I remember I pointed the gun far out from my body and I just pulled the trigger," Benoit said.
Benoit is no actor. Her story is real. The 17-year-old is sharing with the world what she says was the darkest day of her life. It was June 7, 2017 when everything she had been keeping bottled up boiled over.
"I thought there was no other way out, because in my mind, no one would understand," Benoit said.
Benoit says that's because her life appeared perfect on the surface. Benoit was a cheerleader at Dutchtown High School, a model, and had solid family and friends, but she says depression and anxiety had taken over. She was dying inside.
"I thought that if people knew the real story, they wouldn't see me the same," Benoit said.
Benoit can no longer cheer or dance. She is hardly the same girl since the incident. Benoit needs a walker to get around and goes to therapy around 25 hours per week. These days, most of her energy is spent online connecting with people through her blog. She is helping others find faith on www.liferejuvenated.org.
Benoit has also been tapped for a new role on an expert panel set to discuss the details of a new documentary called "Suicide: The Ripple Effect." The film features Kevin Hines, the man who survived jumping form The Golden Gate Bridge. Co-producer and co-director, Greg Dicharry, says it also shares the stories of the first responders who saved Hines' life and how his family dealt with the aftermath.
"When people hear stories that are in a non-sensationalize way that have core message of hope, people get hope and that actually prevents suicide," Dicharry said.
The goal, he says, is to help others share their messages of hope and healing. "With this film we are hoping people can get a little more understanding of what people are going through when they attempt to take their lives so they can intervene and help people the help they need to stay here," Dicharry said.
#beheretomorrow is being used online to promote the film, which officially releases internationally on March 13 via On Demand. Dicharry says the documentary is already scheduled for more than 200 screenings across the globe. Producers say they will measure its success by the impact the movie makes. It has already gotten five stars from Benoit.
"It's amazing. It's awesome," Benoit said.
The screening starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, February 23 at the AMC Theatre - Mall of Louisiana. There is a limited amount of complimentary tickets available for students or non-profit organizations. To purchase tickets online, click here. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center.
For more details, email screenings@SuicideTheRippleEffect.com.