Award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson spoke candidly about psychological well being points affecting youth within the African American group at a congressional listening to on Friday. “I’m here to appeal to you because this is a national crisis,” she mentioned.
“I am here using my celebrity, using my voice, to put a face to this, because I also suffer from depression and anxiety,” she continued. “If you’re a human living in today’s world, I don’t know how you’re not suffering in any way.”
In April, the Congressional Black Caucus launched a process power on psychological well being points going through black youngsters. They’ve since held various hearings on psychological well being stigma and the rising variety of suicides amongst black youth. Henson, who established the Boris Lawrence Henson Basis, attended Friday’s listening to to debate the inspiration’s work in addressing the problem.
She spoke on a variety of issues affecting younger youngsters and youngsters within the black group — from the pervasive results of social media, to the normalization of gun violence, to the dearth of psychological well being schooling in American college methods.
“We in the African American community — we don’t deal with mental health issues,” mentioned Henson. “We don’t even talk about it.”
Yearly, 1 in 5 adults within the U.S. expertise a psychological sickness, however a Nationwide Alliance on Psychological Sickness examine discovered that 60% didn’t obtain therapy and that black adults use psychological well being providers at half the speed of white adults. Amongst highschool college students, black teenagers usually tend to try suicide than their non-Hispanic white counterparts — at a fee of 8.9% in comparison with 6.8% — in line with the Division of Well being and Human Companies’ Workplace of Minority Well being.
Earlier than Henson grew to become an actress, she labored as a particular schooling trainer. She advised the Congressional Black Caucus about one in every of her first experiences within the career.
“I thought I was going to a school for special needs kids and when I got there, I was in a room full of all black young males, labeled special ed,” she mentioned. “None of them were in wheelchairs, they could all speak, they could walk, they had all of their facilities.”
However as Henson started talking to the scholars, she discovered that many had been returning every day to houses the place no dad and mom waited for them.
“When I proceeded to try and teach these young men, they believed this label that had been placed upon them — ‘I’m special ed, Ms. Henson, I can’t learn that,’” she mentioned.
Henson’s basis is internet hosting a convention on the stigma of psychological sickness within the African American group in Washington beginning Friday and going by way of the weekend. The proceeds will assist fund remedy for African People who in any other case can’t afford it.
“We need each other. This is me reaching across the table, trying to lend a helping hand in the best way I can,” Henson mentioned on the listening to. “We have to save our children.”
Should you or somebody you already know wants assist, name 1-800-273-8255 for the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You too can textual content HOME to 741-741 totally free, 24-hour assist from the Disaster Textual content Line. Outdoors the U.S., please go to the Worldwide Affiliation for Suicide Prevention for a database of assets.
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