Taraji P. Henson opened up about her battle with depression in a new interview with Self magazine.
The “Empire” actress has been talking a lot about mental health this year. Because she first discussed it in June when she spoke to Congress about her own depression and the specific mental health challenges that Black people face.
And in October, on the “Today” show, Henson spoke about the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, something she started to help black students deal with mental health issues while they’re in the classroom. She named the foundation after her late father, who suffered from PTSD after serving in the Vietnam War.
During that same “Today” show discussion, Henson also said there aren’t enough “culturally competent” therapists for Black people, and it’s something she spoke about again in her new interview.
“I think my mental health foundation picks up where my art leaves off,” she explained.
“We have to deal with these traumatic situations and these teachers and therapists and social workers need to be trained in cultural competency to be able to pinpoint [when a] child is having an issue that’s deeper than just wanting to be bad in class,” added Henson.
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In the new Self magazine interview, Henson talked about her own depression and how the concept of being a “strong Black woman” could be a dangerous one. And the 49-year-old told other Black women to realize that it’s OK to feel weak or less than OK at times.
“There are some times where I feel absolutely helpless,” Henson admitted. “That’s human. Everybody feels like that. Just because I’m a black woman, don’t put that strong-superhero thing on me.”
Henson also discussed why she has sought therapy, which came after she began feeling different inside. At the same time, her son needed help as well, because his dad and Henson’s boyfriend was murdered in 2003, and her father passed away three years later.
“I had aligned all my chakras, and I still wanted to headbutt a bitch,” Henson joked. “In all seriousness, the therapy came into play out of necessity.
“It was [a] time where I was like, ‘Oh, I’m just not feeling like myself anymore,’” she added. “And my son was going through his issues with becoming a young black male in America with no dad and no grandad.”