What Happened: “Empire” actress Taraji P. Henson opened up about about mental health among the Black community during an interview with CNN on Friday. While discussing how COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Black Americans, Henson shared her nonprofit, Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is providing free virtual therapy to people of color facing COVID-19 stressors.
I’m blessed. I can call my therapist. I can pay for it without thinking about it, but what about those who can’t? –Taraji P. Henson
“When Covid happened, my heart went out and I just knew that people were suffering and they’re suffering alone in isolation.” – Actress Taraji P. Henson on ending the stigma of mental health in the African American community. #CNNTownHall https://t.co/XAkJYdQ2CE pic.twitter.com/dBW4LbmHf9
— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2020
The Frontlines: Black people and people of color face significant mental health risk factors, many due to systemic inequities, oppression, discrimination, and overt and microaggresive racism in their daily lives.
- Black Americans are 20% more likely to report significant psychological distress compared to their white counterparts
- Despite higher risks for mental health issues, Black people are less likely to receive mental health treatment
- Many experts use the term racial battle fatigue to describe the traumatic impact of racism
A Mighty Voice: Our community member, T-Kea Blackman, shared in an interview that building community to talk about Black mental health is critical. “I want to start building a community for my people, people of color, Black people, to be able to have these conversations and to create a safe space for people to feel like their life matters and their story matters.” You can submit your first person story, too.
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From Our Community:
Other things to know: Especially right now, it’s important to talk about mental health in the Black community and provide support. For more, read these Mighty articles:
- 10 ‘Harmless’ Comments People of Color Are Tired of Hearing About Mental Health
- We Need to Stop Believing Blackness and Mental Health Are Mutually Exclusive
- We Need to Make It OK for Black Men to Talk About Their Mental Health
How to take action: If you’re a person of color who needs mental health support now, you can apply on Henson’s foundation website for up to five free therapy sessions. You can also donate so more people can receive services free of charge.