'I Go Home to Very Serious Problems,' Taraji P. Henson Speaks out on Her Mental Health Struggles
Taraji P. Henson has always been vocal about her struggles with mental health, and she recently broached the subject again when she revealed that after work, she goes home to “very serious problems.”
To many people, the “Empire” star has the perfect life – fame, fortune, glitz & glamor – but at 48, Henson has faced her fair share of life’s storms and knows better than anyone that a book should not be judged from its cover.
THE TRUTH NOBODY SEES
Henson was one of five high-flying women featured in Variety’s 2019 “Power of Women New York” issue, and the Hollywood star got candid about the personal struggles we don’t get to see on camera.
Revealing that fame and being in the limelight has contributed to her mental health issues, Henson observed:
“I think there’s a misconception with people in the limelight that we have it all together, and because we have money now and are living out our dreams, everything is fine. That’s not the case. When they yell ‘Cut’ and ‘That’s a wrap,’ I go home to very serious problems. I’m still a real human.”
”I suffer from depression,” she added. “My anxiety is kicking up, even more, every day, and I’ve never really dealt with anxiety like that. It’s something new.”
Henson’s personal experience with mental illness is rooted in two traumatic experiences. In 2003, the father of her son, Marcell, was brutally murdered, and two years later, her father, Boris Lawrence Henson, also died.
The Emmy-nominated actress’s father was a war veteran, who returned from service a broken man and received little to no help for his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.
When the “Hidden Figures” star tried to find an African American therapist to help her son deal with the back-to-back loss of two father figures in his life, she made a painful discovery.
“When we started doing research and I started looking for a therapist that at least looked like him, so he could trust them, it was like looking for a unicorn.”
DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT
Coming face-to-face with the stigma and lack of awareness surrounding mental health issues in the African American community led Henson to create the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF), a vehicle intended to address the problems mentioned earlier.
BLHF was launched last August, and the next month, Henson hosted a fundraising event where she sold personal items to raise money that was used to execute an art makeover in the bathrooms of inner city schools: a move towards combating depression.
Just went to Boutique of Hope launch event for @TherealTaraji Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, an organization dedicated to mental health and inspired by her late father, a Vietnam vet. pic.twitter.com/G2kmnQrcvw— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) September 23, 2018
Henson, who admits she regularly sees a therapist, told The Oprah Magazine last October that the decision to be open about her mental health struggles was informed by the pervading culture of silence surrounding the issue.
“By me saying that [I have problems and issues], I'm starting to see more people come forward,” the “Best Of Enemies” star disclosed. “That's the first thing I wanted to do is just break the ice and have an open dialogue.”
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