Yesterday actress Taraji P. Henson asked Congress to do more to do reduce suicide rates among black youth. DC Reporter Raquel Martin was there as the actress testified.
The actress says, “This is a national crisis.”
In emotional testimony actress, Taraji P Henson asked Congress to help black youth suffering from mental health problems.
She shares, “it breaks my heart to know that 5-year-old children are contemplating life and death I just..”
The special hearing was called by the congressional black caucus’ task force on black youth mental health.
After a study showed suicide rates among black children is on the rise while suicides for white children dropped.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton out of DC says, “When a child commits suicide there’s nowhere else to look but in the mirror”
Henson says the problem and solution starts at school.
Before acting, Henson was a special education teacher where she says she saw the problem first hand.
Often black students wound up in her class instead of getting the help they need.
Henson says, “We’re expecting these children to come from traumatic experiences at home and we’re expecting them to go to school and learn and it’s just not fair, we can’t give up on our kids.”
Henson recently launched a non profit to tackle black mental health.
At the hearing, caucus members thanked her and promised support.
She says, “We need awareness in schools and we need a therapist there to guide them.”
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey adds, “These conversations that we’re having today are very important as we the appropriators are looking for the money.”
Lawmakers say they’re working to secure federal funding to invest in schools and help kids.
Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota says, “It would be important for us to teach kids about their feelings and the importance of not blocking those feelings.”
Henson adds, “When it comes to children no expense is too expensive in my opinion cause we’re’s saving our future”
This was the second hearing and now members are on a nationwide tour to raise awareness.