Actress Taraji P. Henson has always played strong characters. In the Benjamin Button, she played a strong motherly figure that helped navigate the main character throughout his journey. In other films like Baby Boy and Hidden Figures, Henson’s strong female character took over the screen in beautiful portrayals of strong, Black women.
Well, recently, Henson revealed that we are all human and even she had a moment of weakness during this crazy year of 2020.
“During this pandemic, it’s been hard on all of us, and I had a moment. I had a dark moment. I was in a dark place. For a couple of days, I couldn’t get out of the bed, I didn’t care,” she said.
“That’s not me. Then, I started having thoughts about ending it. It happened two nights in a row,” she continued.
She went on to reveal that she had bought a gun recently which was kept in the safe and there were times when she would think about using the gun to kill herself.
“I just didn’t care. I felt myself withdrawing. People were calling me. I wasn’t responding. I didn’t care. Finally, I’m talking to one of my girlfriends and I knew I was smart enough to say ‘I have to say it,’” she said.
“So one day I just blurted it out to my girlfriend. She called me in the morning and I was like, ‘you know I thought about killing myself last night. Oh my god, I feel so much better. I’m not gonna do it now’,” she went on to say.
“At first, it was like, I don’t want to be here. And then I started thinking about going and getting the gun. And that’s why when I woke up the next morning, and I blurted it out. Because I felt like after a while it was going to take over me and it was going to become a plan because that’s how strong my brain is. Our thoughts … They’re that powerful.”
Henson wasn’t the only one who has contemplated suicide recently.
We reported on Tamar Braxton who actually tried to take her life earlier this year after being pushed too far in her television contract. The 43-year-old Braxton confirmed many of those rumors. She revealed in a lengthy statement posted on her Instagram that she had attempted suicide after suffering “pain” for the past 11 years while working in the entertainment industry as a reality star.
A few bright spots in her post to her fans was that Tamar explained how she’s on a “path to healing” following her recent hospitalization after she was found unresponsive in a hotel room earlier this month.
“In this present moment, it is my only responsibility to be real with myself and to be real with the ones who truly love me and care for my healing. I have without fail, shared with you my brightest days, and I know that sharing with you what has been my darkest will be the light for any man or woman who is feeling the same defeat I felt just only a week ago.”
Tamar goes on to talk about how she got her and what her breaking point was.
“Over the past 11 years, there were promises made to protect and portray my story, with the authenticity and honesty I gave. I was betrayed, taken advantage of, overworked, and underpaid. I wrote a letter over 2 months ago asking to be freed from what I believed was excessive and unfair. I explained in personal detail the demise I was experiencing. My cry for help went totally ignored. However, the demands persisted. It was my spirit and my soul that was tainted the most. There are a few things I count on most to be, a good mother, a good daughter, a good partner, a good sister, and a good person. Who I was, begun to mean little to nothing, because it would only be how I was portrayed on television that would matter. It was witnessing the slow death of the woman I became, which discouraged my will to fight. I felt like I was no longer living, I was existing for the purpose of a corporations gain and ratings, and that killed me.”
Taraji’s suicide incident shed’s light on mental health–the illness that her foundation was founded on.
“When Covid happened, my heart went out and I just knew that people were suffering and they’re suffering alone in isolation.”
The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 2018 by Taraji P. Henson and led by Executive Director, Tracie Jade Jenkins. The foundation is named in honor of Ms. Henson’s father, Boris Lawrence Henson, who suffered with mental health challenges as a result of his tour of duty in the Vietnam War. We are committed to changing the perception of mental illness in the African-American community by encouraging those who suffer with this debilitating illness to get the help they need.
They extend services to cover those impacted directly or indirectly by the injustice and maltreatment of African-Americans observed over the last few months.
BLHF launched the Free Virtual Therapy Support Campaign to raise money for mental health services provided by licensed clinicians in their network. Individuals with life-changing stressors and anxiety due to the troubling events of this unprecedented time, would have the cost for up to five (5) individual sessions defrayed on a first come, first serve basis until all funds are committed or exhausted.