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Taraji P. Henson Testifies To Congress About Urgent Need For Better Mental Health Services

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Aug. 12 2020, Updated 5:55 p.m. ET

Taraji P. Henson testified before Congress about the need for better mental health services in the wake of increasing suicide rates on Friday, June 7.

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Taraji, 48, got emotional as she discussed the shortage of mental health resources, especially within the black community, with the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health.

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"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."

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She continued, "It breaks my heart to know that 5 year old children are contemplating life and death. 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."

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The Proud Mary star revealed how her own battles with mental illness inspired her to take action.

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"I'm here using my celebrity, using my voice, to put a face to this because I also suffer from depression and anxiety. 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," she added.

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Taraji founded the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, which focuses on ending the stigma surrounding mental illness in the black community.

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What do you think of Taraji's efforts to raise awareness? Sound off in the comments below! 

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