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Taraji P. Henson Opens Up About Her Mental Health & Stigma of Mental Illness in the Black Community

Taraji P. Henson Opens Up About Her Mental Health & Stigma of Mental Illness in the Black Community

Taraji P. Henson is on the cover of Variety‘s Power of Women issue, out now.

Bette Midler and Christiane Amanpour also star on separate covers of the issue.

Here’s what the 48-year-old Empire actress had to say…

On stigma surrounding mental illness in the black community: ”We’re walking around broken, wounded and hurt, and we don’t think it’s OK to talk about it. We don’t talk about it at home. It’s shunned. It’s something that makes you look weak. We’re told to pray it away. Everyone was always asking me, ‘Do you have a charity?’ Well, dammit, this is going to be my calling, because I’m sick of this. People are killing themselves. People are numbing out on drugs. Not everything is fixed with a pill.”

On her own struggles with mental health: ”I suffer from depression. My anxiety is kicking up even more every day, and I’ve never really dealt with anxiety like that. It’s something new.”

On fame and being a normal person: “It was fun at first, but the older I get, the more private I want to be. 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.”

For more from Taraji, head to Variety.com.

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Credit: Cliff Watts; Photos: Variety
Posted to: Bette Midler, Christiane Amanpour, Taraji P. Henson

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    Taraji I love your transparency and always admired your realness. Whenever I see you interview when you’re on or off set you seem so down to earth. I cannot imagine all the hard work fame and success is to manage a work life balance. That is near impossible in the spotlight of a celebrity. On the surface you appear to handle it well, however you do what you have to do. I am no celebrity but trauma and life has consumed to the brink of overwhelming struggle leading to depression and PTSD so I get it. We as African American suffer in silence and do not get the help me need. God Bless You. Thank you for sharing your story. ❤