Award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson spoke at Friday’s Congressional Black Caucus hearing to talk about the mental health issues of African-American youth.
What We Know:
- The Congressional Black Caucus launched a task force on mental health issues facing black teenagers in April.
- Henson attended Friday’s hearing to talk more about the work the Congress has done to raise awareness as well as issues affecting the mental health of the youth, including social media and lack of mental health care in schools.
- “We in the African American community — we don’t deal with mental health issues,” said Henson. “We don’t even talk about it.”
- “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.”
- According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, black teens are more likely to commit suicide than their white counterparts (a rate of 8.9% compared to 6.8%). It was also found by a National Alliance on Mental Illness study that black adults use mental health services at half the rate of white adults.
- Previously a special education teacher and establisher of the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, a mental health foundation in honor of Henson’s father, Henson with her foundation is hosting a conference on mental illness in the African American community in Washington starting Friday and going through the weekend.
- The proceeds from this conference will help fund therapy for African Americans who otherwise 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…We have to save our children” Henson said Friday.