Taraji P. Henson wipes tears during her opening statement before the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health on Friday morning (June 7) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
The 48-year-old actress, who is the founder of The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, spoke on a personal perspective on managing mental health challenges, and the benefits of shining light on this topic in Black households.
“We, in the African American community, we don’t deal with mental health issues. We don’t even talk about it,” Taraji expressed. “We’ve been taught to pray our problems away.”
“We can’t give up on our kids, and I think that’s where it starts,” Taraji continued. “I think we [have to] implement mental illness or mental health as education in school. It needs to be a subject just like sex education was or physical education. We need to talk about it. The more we talk about it, the more people will feel like they can talk about it. I really don’t know how to fix this problem. I just know this suicide rate is rising. I just know the ages of the children that are committing suicide are getting younger and younger.”
At one point, Taraji P. Henson grew emotional and paused to gather herself to proceed – Watch her speech here!