After starting a foundation to help those dealing with mental illness issues, Taraji P. Henson is opening up about her own battle with depression and anxiety in a new interview.
“I suffer from depression, ” the Oscar-nominated actress told Variety, adding that she turns to a therapist when she needs help. “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.”
Henson added that while she’s struggled with depression for a while, there’s a new health issue she’s working through.
“My anxiety is kicking up even more every day, and I’ve never really dealt with anxiety like that,” she said. “It’s something new.”
The actress admits that fame has had an impact on her mental health, saying it was “fun at first,” but now she just wants more privacy.
“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,” she clarified. “When they yell ‘Cut’ and ‘That’s a wrap,’ I go home to very serious problems. I’m still a real human.”
Henson said she sees a therapist regularly, and had to go through several before finding the perfect one.
“I remember the first time I went, I was angry, because I was like, ‘She didn’t tell me nothing! She didn’t tell me anything!’ You’re not going to figure it all out in one sitting,” Henson explained.
Being open about her mental health is dear to Henson, who launched the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018, a tribute to her father, a Vietnam War vet, who suffered from mental illness and passed away in 2005.
The foundation and her own openness about mental health is also Henson’s way of changing the stigma around 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,” she said. “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.”