Taraji P. Henson Says “It’s Okay Not to Be Okay”

“For generations, we’ve been told it’s a weakness, to pray our problems away – and that’s just not gonna cut it,” Taraji P. Henson states.

Taraji P. Henson, famously known for her work in Empire, What Men Want, Hidden Figures and more, started the “Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation”. This foundation is to help with the negative stigma surrounding mental health in the African-American community.

Recently, in an interview, Henson speaks out against the stigma society has placed on mental health.

“The suicide rate has taken off,” the Empire star tells the press. “It amazes me that 5-year-olds are contemplating suicide. That’s a word you shouldn’t even understand at five years old.”


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🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾💋💋💋 #Repost @iamjessiemiles ・・・ @tarajiphenson got emotional while speaking in front of congress on mental health! @blhensonfoundation Photos: @gettyimages⠀ Taraji P. Henson got emotional as she testified before Congress on Friday about the need for mental health counselors and education, especially in the black community, in wake of a rise in suicides of young people. The Empire star, who has an adult son, also talked about her own battle with depression and anxiety, which she has been open about, as she spoke before the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health. “I really don’t know how to fix this problem, I just know that the suicide rate is rising,” she said. “I just know that ages of the children that are committing suicide are getting younger and younger.” A study published in JAMA Pediatrics earlier this year showed that between 2007 and 2015, annual ER visits relating to suicide by people aged 5 to 18 rose from 2.2 percent to 3.5 percent, and from 580,000 to 1.2 million. “It breaks my heart to know that 5-year-old children are contemplating life and death,” Henson said. “I just…I’m sorry. That one is tough for me. So I’m here to appeal to you, because this is a national crisis. When I hear of kids going into bathrooms, cutting themselves, you’re supposed to feel safe in school.” “I’m here using my celebrity, using my voice, to put a face to this because I also suffer from depression and anxiety,” she continued. “And if you’re a human living in today’s world, I don’t know how you’re not suffering in any way, I mean if you turn on the news, that’s PTSD right there. We need each other. This is me reaching across the table, trying to lend a helping hand in the best way I can. We have to save the children.” •

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Empire star urges Black Caucus members to join in the talks of mental health and proper education for help.