Emma says she was a cheerleader and “All-American, picture-perfect girl” who appeared happy on the outside but was secretly struggling with severe anxiety and depression. She says that when she was 16, her depression led her to make a near-fatal decision that changed her life forever.

“My suicide attempt resulted in a severe spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed,” says Emma. She says that, looking back, she was “never really taught coping skills to endure life’s challenges.”

Today, Emma advocates for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. She is featured in the documentary My Ascension, which chronicles her journey and quest to walk again.


“This is my calling. Maybe my pain and suffering can help someone else,” says Emma in the video above.

The conclusion of this two-part Dr. Phil, “A Teen’s Near-Fatal Decision,” airs Wednesday.

And later, Dr. Phil talks with Ross Szabo, co-author of the book, “Behind Happy Faces: Taking Charge of Your Mental Health,” about the biggest factors contributing to the teen mental health crisis and learning to normalize conversations about mental health in the home.

Watch more from part one, “Inside America’s Teen Mental Health Crisis.”

Check your local listing for airtimes.

If you or someone you know are experiencing a mental health emergency, call or text the National Suicide & Crisis lifeline by dialing 9-8-8, or reach out to http://988lifeline.org to chat.

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