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'13 Reasons Why' pulls suicide scene, teen's mother says it's too late

Posted at 11:18 PM, Jul 25, 2019

CARROLL COUNTY, Md. — "You can see in a lot of her pictures how pretty she was," said Joyce Deithorn as she looked through pictures of her daughter.

Deithorn's daughter, Emily Bragg, was just 19 years old when she took her own life.

Deithorn said her Emily struggled with depression and anxiety since she was 11 and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was 16.

"She would always tell me it’s that cancer that no body sees. She says 'I’m ill all the time. No one sees me. No ones helping me'," Deithorn said.

When Emily graduated dental hygienist school, her family said they thought she was going to be okay.

"We'd always coach her through it. We never thought it would end with her taking her life," Deithorn said.

Shortly before Emily took her own life, Deithorn said Emily started watching the Netflix Series '13 Reasons Why.' Deithorn said she did not want her daughter to watch the show because of her mental health, but she did it anyway.

"I was in shock. How could this happen? Could I have done something differently? How could I have prevented this? And I would have done anything to prevent her from dying. I blame myself everyday," Deithorn said. "It’s so hard not to blame yourself. I blame myself all the time thinking what could have I done differently to keep her here."

Deithorn said Emily planned her own death, left notes for everyone she loved and took her life the same way the main character did in the Netflix show.

"What I see, I can vividly see what I found and that's traumatic. The amount of blood I saw, the cuts on her. Her body was pale white," said Deithorn. She said she was traumatized and is still working through it.

Now, Netflix has cut the suicide scene from the show.

"It's too late for many families. I truly believe the glamorization of that scene and that moment made it to the kids like oh my gosh this is what I want to do this is how I’m gonna go out," said Deithorn. She believes mental health has to be discussed, just in a different way, and she urges parents to be vigilant.

"Try to make sure you’re being aware of what your kids are involved in and what they’re watching because those impact them," Deithorn said. "Their minds are so immature and the decisions they’re gonna make might be the end."

WMAR-2 News reached out to Netflix for a comment but have yet to hear back.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can call the Maryland Suicide Prevention Program at 211 and press 1.

You can also call the statewide crisis hotline at 1-800-422-0009.