Taraji P. Henson depression

Taraji P. Henson Opens Up About Her Struggles with Depression and Anxiety

Taraji P. Henson suffers from anxiety and depression. She’s now having candid conversations regarding Black women and mental health. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health disorders in the nation. For Black women, anxiety and depression symptoms are typically more intense than their white counterparts.

The Empire actress is one of five women featured in Variety Magazine’s Power of Women New York issue, released this past Tuesday. Henson, in the feature, opened up about her struggles, past and present, with anxiety and depression.

“[Fame] was fun at first, but the older I get, the more private I want to be,” Henson told Variety. “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.”

Henson has also attributed her fame and lack of privacy to triggering her depression and anxiety.

“I suffer from depression,” Henson says. “My anxiety is kicking up even more every day, and I’ve never really dealt with anxiety like that. It’s something new.”

Black women, specifically, have a more difficult time dealing with mental health issues because of how they are viewed in the United States. There’s the ‘Strong Black Woman’, the ‘Angry Black Woman’, and the ‘Jezebel’ tropes which impact the treatment, or lack thereof, to which Black women have access. In particular, Black women usually suffer from “high-functioning depression” because people often believe that nothing is wrong with them due to their completion of daily activities.

Henson stated: “I have to be conscious about everything. Everything. Every move I make and everything that comes out of my mouth. I have to go over it because that’s not living.”

She also shared that she regularly sees a therapist to help her through her episodes.

“I have a therapist that I speak to. That’s the only way I can get through it. You can talk to your friends, but you need a professional who can give you exercises,” she said. “So that when you’re on the ledge, you have things to say to yourself that’ll get you off that ledge and past your weakest moments.”

She also stressed the difficulty she had finding a therapist who worked for her.

“Going and talking to all these different therapists, that’s a craft. You’ve got to keep going until you find the right one. It’s like a relationship. I’ve got to feel comfortable because that’s the only way I’m going to keep coming back to you. To keep dealing with this ugly stuff, I have to feel totally safe,” she elaborated.

It is imperative that Black women seek help even before they get to the point of losing control.

In 2018, Taraji opened the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation – named after her late father. The foundation aims to provide mental health support and raise awareness around mental health issues particularly in the African-American community.

It should not be taken for granted that depression and other mental health issues are not disabilities. Although we can easily identify people who suffer from physical disabilities, sufferers of non-physical disabilities deserve the same amount of respect, care and consideration as their counterparts.

And as a person who has lived with major clinical depression for almost three years, I can tell you representation is paramount.

Here is a great video with #19 of our Top 50 companies featuring Nielsen’s Elizabeth Hogan’s thoughts on how to better represent people with diverse disabilities in our “Best Practices” series.

 

 

 

 

 

Latest News

Validated Allies wallpaper

DiversityInc Announces 2022 Validated Allies

Allyship is a journey rather than a destination. The work of an ally never really ends and allies understand they are not necessarily always working toward a goal, but rather, serving a greater purpose. Each year, as part of our Women of Color and Their Allies event, DiversityInc recognizes a…

CDO Series: Sysco’s Adrienne Trimble

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs. In the latest installment of a series of articles…

NOD Forum: Honoring the Disability Rights Movement

The road to disability rights has been a long one. One that started long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was passed. In celebration of 40 years of the National Organization on Disability, disability leaders, supporters and activists gathered in Washington, D.C last week to discuss the…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: September 29

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Research Outlines Lack…

Marriott International building

Marriott International Receives 12 Platinum Honors at the MUSE Creative Awards

Originally published at news.marriott.com. Marriott International is a Hall of Fame company.   Marriott International’s unmatched portfolio of luxury brands earned 12 Platinum Awards representing 5 dynamic brands, across 10 categories in the 2022 MUSE Creative Awards — an international competition for creative professionals. The industry leader within the luxury…

Marriott International Debuts Its New Global Headquarters Focused on Wellbeing

Originally published at news.marriott.com. Marriott International is a Hall of Fame company.   After six years of planning, design and construction, Marriott International has opened its global headquarters in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. The 21-story, 785,000-square-foot, LEEDv4 Gold-certified building is the new workplace for corporate associates, supporting over 8,100 hotels in 139…