Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson

Mental healthcare should be taught in school, says Taraji P. Henson

ANI | Updated: Jun 09, 2019 09:32 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], June 9 (ANI): Stating that suicide rate has gone up even among children, actor Taraji P Henson has said that awareness about mental health should be imparted during school.
"The suicide rate has taken off. It amazes me that 5-year-olds are contemplating suicide. That's a word you shouldn't even understand at five years old," People quoted her as saying.
She went on to say, "We don't talk about mental health, we don't deal with it."
Expressing her wish to extend help to people and urging members of the Black Caucus to join her in spreading awareness on mental illness, she added, "I'm only one voice. I need help."
Henson suggested that mental healthcare should be a part of the school curriculum, parents will then have to talk about the issue with their kids.
"If we can teach children about sex education and physical education, why not mental?" she asserted.
Henson started the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation last year with an aim to eliminate the stigma around mental illness in the African-American community.
She named her organization in the name of her father, a Vietnam War veteran who suffered from both PTSD and maniac depression.
"I feel like I've really found my purpose," Henson added.
Talking about her father, Henson said, "Why focus on the negative? He's not here. It wasn't all bad with my dad. He had his moments. But when you're dealing with mental illness, that's what you're gonna have. But most of the memories were good."
Henson's father died in 2005, just two years after her husband William Lamar Johnson was murdered in Washington D.C.
She recalled the time when she needed a therapist whom she could trust on and said, "It was like looking for a purple unicorn with a 24-carat-gold-horn. I say that jokingly, but it's serious."
"The reason why we don't have many psychiatrists of color, or psychologists of color, or therapists of color, is because we don't talk about it at home," she added.
Although Henson now meets her therapist twice a week, she said, "I can call her at any time I'm having a moment and she's there. I was blessed enough to find someone I really gel with. She gets me."
Henson concluded by emphasizing on her point, "It's okay not to be okay. Just talk about it." (ANI)