Taraji P. Henson Reveals She Contemplated Suicide During the Pandemic

On her Facebook Watch series, actress Taraji P. Henson spoke at length about the "dark moment" she faced after the COVID-19 pandemic left her feeling withdrawn and isolated.

By McKenna Aiello Dec 24, 2020 1:31 AMTags
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Taraji P. Henson has created a safe space for stars like Tamar Braxton to open up about their mental health journeys, and now she's doing the same. 

On the Dec. 23 installment of her Facebook Watch seriesPeace of Mind With Taraji, the Golden Globe winner disclosed that she recently considered taking her own life. Speaking to Dr. LaShonda Green, Taraji detailed the "dark moment" she faced after the coronavirus pandemic left her feeling withdrawn and isolated. 

"During this pandemic it's been hard on all of us, and I had a moment. I had a dark moment," she recalled. "I was in a dark place. For a couple of days, I couldn't get out of the bed, I didn't care. That's not me. Then, I started having thoughts about ending it. It happened two nights in a row." 

Prior to this, Taraji said she had purchased a gun. The actress remembered thinking to herself, "I could go in there right now and just end it all, 'cause I want it to be over."

When her 26-year-old son, Marcell Johnson, crossed her mind, Taraji told herself he'd "get over it" because he's an adult. 

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After Taraji said she began "withdrawing" and stopped responding to concern loved ones who had reached out, she realized she needed to speak up about her feelings.

"Finally," the 50-year-old remembered, "I'm talking to one of my girlfriends and I knew, I was smart enough to say, 'I have to say it.' Because a part of me was ashamed. I was like, 'I don't want them to think I'm crazy. I don't want them to obsess over me or think they gotta come and sit on me.'"

John Salangsang/Invision/AP

Taraji continued, "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.'"

From the Hidden Figures star's perspective, by not sharing her experience with someone who cared, her suicidal thoughts would "become a plan."

She explained, "...what scared me, is that I did it two nights in a row. And the thoughts kept coming. Now I started think about how. 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."

Over the years, Taraji has used her star power to advocate for mental health resources—especially as they pertain to the Black community. In 2019, the A-lister testified before Congress about rising suicide rates among Black youth. One year prior, she founded the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, which aims to destigmatize mental illness. 

If you or someone you know needs help, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.