‘It Breaks My Heart:’ Taraji P. Henson Breaks Down in Tears While Advocating for Black Mental Health Awareness on Capitol Hill - News48

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‘It Breaks My Heart:’ Taraji P. Henson Breaks Down in Tears While Advocating for Black Mental Health Awareness on Capitol Hill

Taraji P. Henson recently opened up to Congress about mental health in the Black community among young people and became emotional. On Friday she spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Taskf*orce on Black Youth S*uicide and Mental Health,

where she talked about her own b*attle with d*epression, as well as her son being t*raumatized by his father’s m*urder.

Henson said her ex was k*illed in Washington in 2004, and she had trouble finding the necessary help for her son afterward.

“When he was becoming a young man, not having his important male figures to look up to, to call upon, questions about becoming a young African-American male in America or how does that work? What do I need to do? We didn’t have it … It was like looking for a unicorn,” Henson explained.

The “Empire” actress also said p*sychiatrists who deal with mental health in the Black community aren’t easily accessible “Because we in the African-American community don’t deal with mental health issues.”

“We’ve been taught to pray our problems away,” she added. “We’ve been demonized for coming out saying we have issues and we have trust issues.”

Henson also said that when she sits in front of a mental health professional for her own problems, she wants that person to be “culturally competent.” Plus, she pointed to several factors that contribute to depression and suicide among Black youth, which she drew from her experience as a special education teacher before becoming an actress.

The Washington native said that her students normalized sh*ootouts, as well as other types of t*raumas, and f*ought back tears as she continued.

“It breaks my heart to know that 5-year-old children are contemplating life and d*eath,” she stated. “So I’m here to appeal to you because this is a national crisis. When I hear of kids going into bathrooms c*utting themselves, you’re supposed to feel safe at school.”

“I’m here using my celebrity, using my voice, to put a face to this,” she added. “Because I also s*uffer from d*epression and a*nxiety.”

In 2018 Henson started the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named after her father, to help end the stigma that surrounds mental health issues in the Black community.

At the time, she spoke about her late father’s own battle with mental i*llness, which she related to his time f*ighting in the Vietnam War and not having the proper assistance when he came home.

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