Health & Fit Tariji P. Henson is on a mission to end mental health stigma

16:00  08 october  2019
16:00  08 october  2019 Source:   today.com

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Taraji P . Henson is taking you to therapy. Well, kind of. The Golden Globe-winning actress, with her best friend and mental health non-profit leader Tracie Jade, will co-host a new biweekly Facebook Watch series, "Peace of Mind with Taraji " (premieres Dec. They hope to erase the stigma about getting help. "What we get to do is take the community inside of an actual therapy session, so it doesn't feel so scary," Henson says. Jade adds: "Hopefully, we're helping folk to identify maybe some of the symptoms that they're having, or family members are having, and apply that in a therapy session, go

Taraji P . Henson was honored Thursday by the Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation for her work to end the stigma around mental illness. This year, with the coronavirus pandemic complicating people’s mental health struggles, Henson ’s foundation has been helping African Americans — who’ve been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 — access free online therapy. Henson named the foundation for her father, a military veteran whom she said “returned broken” from his service in Vietnam.

When Taraji P. Henson’s father, Boris Henson, talked about how he “felt off” following his service in Vietnam, others around him often seemed uncomfortable. Even though some mocked him for it, he continued talking about having PTSD and depression.

a close up of Taraji P. Henson: TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site© NBC TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site

“They would call him ‘crazy’ you know — ‘You know Boris. He crazy.’ And that’s the stigma around it,” the "Empire" actress told NBC special anchor Maria Shriver. “In the African-American community, it’s taboo. For so long, it’s been looked upon as a weakness in our community.”

The need to address the social stigma surrounding mental health in the African-American community is critical.

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Actor, producer, mental health advocate, and entrepreneur Taraji P . Henson on her mental health organization, menopause, work, love, and more. SELF is a health media brand; smashing the stigma around mental illness is part of our mission . So I have entered this conversation with a pretty clear understanding of the scope of the crisis: In 2017, 4.3% of non-Hispanic black people in the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey said they felt sad all or most of the time compared with 2.6% of non-Hispanic white people.

In August 2018, Golden Globe-winning actor, writer, and producer Taraji P . Henson launched The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF) , a nonprofit organization named after her father. The group works toward increasing the mental health support within the African American Henson says she’s always known there was a gap in mental healthcare for African Americans, but she didn’t know how to effect change on a large scale — until now. Part of BLHF’s mission is to focus on ending the stigma in the African American community, both in talking about mental health issues and getting help.

African-American children and teens are dying from suicide at an alarming rate, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority health. In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for black American teens, ages 15 to 24. African-American females of high school age were 70 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their non-Hispanic white female counterparts. Since the early 1990s, the rates of suicide have nearly doubled for African-American children, according to a 2015 paper in JAMA Pediatrics.

"We’re letting them know that they are worthy, and that they matter in a world that’s telling them they don’t right now."

The Oscar-nominated star has testified to Congress to urge for more funding for mental health in African-American communities, but she didn’t stop there. She founded the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, which partners with schools to help African-American children who need mental health support. For example, the foundation is creating “Peace Rooms,” which are painted with encouraging quotes to help students with anxiety who need to step away. While this gives students a quiet place to collect themselves, it also shows them that their wellbeing is valuable.

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Taraji P . Henson is getting real about the stigma surrounding mental health , especially within the Black community. While speaking with ET's Kevin Frazier via Zoom, the 50-year-old actress and her longtime BFF, Tracie Jade Jenkins, explained how they plan to normalize that conversation The all-new series will cover a wide range of topics and will also feature appearances by some of their celebrity friends, like Jay Pharoah, Gabrielle Union and Tamar Braxton. Of Braxton coming on following her tumultuous year in the spotlight, Henson said, "I love that she felt safe enough to come here with us."

Taraji P . Henson ’s organization, the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, is named after her late father, who returned from the Vietnam War with mental health issues. For the Oscar-nominated actress, ending the stigma surrounding mental illness in the black community is a deeply personal cause. Henson is not just another celebrity who’s slapped her name on a charity. In the middle of the press tour for her next movie, “The Best of Enemies,” she spent her lunch break with struggling young girls at a Washington, D.C., school, along with her childhood best friend, Tracie Jenkins, the executive

“We’re letting them know that they are worthy, and that they matter in a world that’s telling them they don’t right now,” Henson said.

The foundation also awards scholarships to black students who want to study mental health to make up for the dearth of African-American therapists. "Culturally competent" African-American mental health professionals can help community members as they grapple with their mental health and the unique challenges they face.

“To wake up and to know that at any moment you could be a target just because of the color of your skin, that is a heavy weight to carry,” she said. “For children, that is a heavy weight to carry. For adults. Because the adults are the mothers, the brothers, the uncles, the grandmothers, the sisters. We all carry it.”

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Taraji P Henson is seriously Talking About Mental Health & What Needs To Be DONE especially among African American. Mental health affect all human beings no

Henson experienced firsthand the challenging of trying to find a therapist that could address her needs when she began experiencing depression and anxiety in her 40s. Her frustration increased when she couldn't find a therapist to help her son, Marcell Johnson.

“Trying to find a culturally competent therapist was like looking for a purple unicorn with a gold horn,” she said.

By supporting children in school and training future mental health professionals, Henson hopes that she can change the future for numerous African-American children and teens.

For Henson, the foundation's success will be determined not only by increased mental health resources for African-American students and access to therapists, but to help young children feel comfortable talking about mental health issues.

Success, she said, will happen "when we can literally talk about mental health in our community without being laughed at, or being called crazy, or being demonized."

“I want to touch as many children as possible. These babies are suffering,” she said. "And I just feel that is what God sent me here to do. I finally figured it out."

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