Taraji P. Henson Isn’t Afraid to Talk About Mental Health

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Taraji P. Henson looks like she has it all together. She’s a mother, a Golden Globe-winning actress, she always looks stunning on red carpets, and she’s recently hinted at launching a music career. However, like many of us, Henson has her struggles. She’s passionate about being open about the challenges we face, which is why she hosts Peace of Mind with Taraji on Facebook Watch.

During a recent interview on the WTF with Marc Maron Podcast, Henson described the show as “therapy for all of us,” including herself and her best friend who serves as co-host, Tracie Jade. The show aims to educate an audience that Henson says avoids discussing mental health. She pointed out that if you’ve never talked about mental health and therapy “and you don’t think you need help because it’s never been presented that way to you, how do you know” how to seek assistance?

The inspiration for the show hits close to home for Henson. Her father, Boris Henson, had post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder and attempted to commit suicide. Henson admired that her father was always open about his struggles with mental health and was happy to chat them out with people.

Henson has some mental health struggles of her own, including social anxiety. At first, Henson said she didn’t realize that she was suffering from the condition. “It became normal for me. I thought I developed this during the pandemic and the shutdown.” However, when the world began to reopen, she realized the issue ran deeper.

“I would talk myself out of going to the store, but that started happening before. Through therapy, you start going back in time and realize, ‘Oh, that had nothing to do with COVID. I was actually doing that in Chicago,’” Henson said. She largely attributed her social anxiety to her rise to recognition after starring in Empire

Henson is looking to build empathy through her show—she thinks the world could use a bit more if right now. “When you understand someone’s struggles, what they might be going through, this is empathy, right? This is allowing space for grace,” said Henson. The key, she believes, is vulnerability. Strength and change are in the vulnerability.

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