Taraji P. Henson delivers emotional speech at Congress on Mental Health

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American actress,Taraji P.Henson delivers an emotional speech at a Congress on Mental Health.

The actress spoke about the need for mental health counselors and education, especially in the black community, in wake of a rise in suicides of young people.

The Empire star, also revealed her struggle with depression and anxiety, as she spoke before the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health.

Photo credit: Getty images

“I really don’t know how to fix this problem, I just know that the suicide rate is rising,” she said. “I just know that ages of the children that are committing suicide are getting younger and younger.”

A research published by JAMA Pediatrics reveals this year between 2007 and 2015, annual ER visits relating to suicide by people aged 5 to 18 rose from 2.2 percent to 3.5 percent, and from 580,000 to 1.2 million.

“It breaks my heart to know that 5-year-old children are contemplating life and death,” Henson said. “I just…I’m sorry. That one is tough for me. So I’m here to appeal to you, because this is a national crisis. When I hear of kids going into bathrooms, cutting themselves, you’re supposed to feel safe in school.”

I’m here using my celebrity, using my voice, to put a face to this because I also suffer from depression and anxiety,” she continued. “And if you’re a human living in today’s world, I don’t know how you’re not suffering in any way, I mean if you turn on the news, that’s PTSD right there. 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 the children.” 

Taraji P.Henson is the founder of the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, which aims to end the stigma surrounding mental illness in the black community. The actress named her foundation after the late father, who suffered from mental health issues after his return from Vietnam War.

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