Popular Hollywood actress Taraji P. Henson celebrated the launch of her non-profit organization- The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, by putting up her personal dresses, shoes and purses for sales in a special Los Angeles fundraising event.
The foundation, named after her late father, focuses on erasing the stigma surrounding mental health issues, particularly in the African American community.
This cause is quite personal to Tarajip Henson, following the struggles both herself and her son faced after her husband was murdered in 2003. Her dad’s death two years later didn’t make things any better. When she started looking for a psychiatrist for her son, wanting “someone that he could trust, someone that looks like him and could understand his struggle,” she said it was very difficult because “they wouldn’t be African American and it wouldn’t get anything accomplished because he felt guilty for the things he was saying.”
She said, “It was like looking for a unicorn, and the reason that happens is because we don’t talk about it in our community; it’s taboo, it’s looked upon as a weakness or we’re demonized for expressing rage for traumas we’ve been through. I have a lot of white friends and that’s what got me going. They say, ‘You don’t talk to anybody? Girl, I’m going to see my shrink every Thursday at 3 o’clock.’ So I was like why don’t we do that in our community?” Henson told Variety.
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Hollywood actress Taraji P. Henson talks about mental health
She equally pointed out that the cause needed a well known face to represent it, because according to her there’s “the misconception about celebrities that we have it all together and we’re perfect and we’re not. Our kids aren’t perfect, we’re suffering and struggling just like the regular person and money doesn’t help. I thank God I can pay for the psychiatry bill but it doesn’t necessarily take away the problems.”
She later revealed, during the course of the event that she has also sought mental health treatment and sees a psychiatrist herself. “I’m here to tell you that when they tell cut and the cameras go away, I go home to real problems just like everybody else,” she said, adding that she wanted to be open about her struggles so “people go, “Oh wow she’s going through it? Well I’m alright then.”