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Taraji P. Henson Does Wonders for Mental Health

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Award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson has launched a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging African Americans to talk more about mental health and to seek support.

With the mantra “break the silence, break the cycle, the vision of the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is to eradicate the stigma around mental health issues in the African American community. The foundation is named in honor of Henson’s father, Boris Lawrence Henson, who suffered with mental health challenges as a result of his tour of duty in the Vietnam War.

Earlier this week, she told the press of how her father struggled with mental health. “My dad… returned home broken and received little to no physical and emotional support,” she said.

“It was like looking for a unicorn, and the reason that happens is because we don’t talk about it in our community.” Henson told Variety. “It’s taboo. It’s looked upon as a weakness or we’re demonized for expressing rage for traumas we’ve been through. I have a lot of white friends and that’s what got me going. They say, ‘You don’t talk to anybody? Girl, I’m going to see my shrink every Thursday at 3 o’clock.’ So I was like why don’t we do that in our community?”

Mental illnesses in African Americans are similar with those of the general population, according to the American Psychiatric Association. The APA’s 2017 report went to state that only one in three African Americans who need mental health care receives it. Henson’s foundation is the gateway of help that would be affordable for those who cannot normally pay for this kind of help.

Mental health issues can occur within our lives no matter the age, race or social class. Henson further confirm this notion, saying, “A misconception about celebrities… have (having) it all together and [they’re] perfect… Money doesn’t help.”

Inspired by her father’s struggle, she stands in his absence, committed to offering support for others who face trauma daily.

 

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