Taraji P. Henson is working to eradicate the stigma around mental health in the black community by opening up about her personal battles. In an interview with Variety, the Oscar-nominated actress revealed that she has bouts with depression and anxiety, and regularly sees a therapist.
“I suffer from depression,” admitted Henson. “My anxiety is kicking up even more every day, and I’ve never really dealt with anxiety like that. It’s something new.”
The Empire star went on to share why seeking professional help is the “only way” that she can treat her depression and anxiety, as opposed to turning to her friendship circle. “You can talk to your friends, but you need a professional who can give you exercises. So that when you’re on the ledge, you have things to say to yourself that will get you off that ledge and past your weakest moments,” she said.
“It’s a professional — someone who studies the human mind, and someone who has no stakes involved,” explained Henson. “Their job is to make sure you’re mentally sound, whatever that is, and telling you the truth, which might hurt. Sometimes your friends don’t want to hurt your feelings. If I’m going to change for the better, I need honesty, and sometimes your friends and family don’t have it in them to be brutally honest.”
Even though Henson champions therapy, she admits to getting frustrated at times “because you’re waiting for them to fix you.”
Henson went through “several” therapists until she found the right fit. “Going and talking to all these different therapists, that’s a craft. You’ve got to keep going until you find the right one,” she said. “It’s like a relationship. I’ve got to feel comfortable because that’s the only way I’m going to keep coming back to you. To keep dealing with this ugly stuff, I have to feel totally safe. I need to feel like even though I know we don’t have all day, you’ve got to make me feel like we have all day.”
The Washington D.C. native also recommends unplugging from social media for mental health purposes.
Last year, Henson opened the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named after her late father. The organization provides mental health support and raises awareness to “mental health issues that plague our community”
On Tuesday (April 2), Henson and the BLHF announced the first annual Can We Talk? conference and benefit dinner to be held in Washington, D.C. from June 7-9. Proceeds from the event will support “access to therapy for African-Americans who may not otherwise have the means to cover expenses.”
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DMV I am coming home!!! #CanWeTalk? Join us LINK IN MY BIO GET TIX NOW❗️❗️🙏🏾💋💋💋 #Repost @traciejade The time has come! The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is pleased to announce our 1st Annual Can We Talk? Conference and Benefit Dinner to be held in Washington, D.C. June 7th-9th, 2019. Proceeds from this event will support access to therapy for African-Americans who may not otherwise have the means to cover expenses. . Join us as we continue to break the stigma around mental health in the black community. Special thanks to our DMV regional partners for your support: @kennedycenter @btstservices @202creates @entertain_dc #blackmentalhealthalliance @black_minds_matter_ . Visit www.canwetalkevent.com for tickets and more information. Limited space available! See you in June! 💋 . #canwetalk #breakthesilence #breakthecycle #theborislawrencehensonfoundation