Taraji P. Henson on Her Mental Health After Opening Up About Past Suicidal Thoughts (Exclusive)

Henson and Tracie Jade opened up to ET about the new episodes of 'Piece of Mind.'

Nothing was better for Taraji P. Henson than sharing her past struggles with viewers and focusing on her mental health.

While co-hosting Tuesday's Entertainment Tonight with best friend and Peace of Mind With Taraji P. Henson collaborator Tracie Jade, Henson told ET's Kevin Frazier about why she needed to open up about her past suicidal thoughts.

"[I'm] much better...It's called suicide ideation and it's not that you're really gonna go forth with it, it's just thoughts running through your mind when you're at your lowest," Henson explained of her struggles. "And for me, because I'm in therapy, I knew that saying it out loud and getting it out of my head would deaden it."

Jade added, "Thank God she knew to reach out to the professionals who could actually give her help," with Henson explaining that she didn't want her friends to panic. "I told them, 'Don't panic.' I understand that I have to say it out loud so I can hear how ridiculous that sounds to me."

"I get to hear it and then and it's not such a heavy thought anymore," the former Empire star continued. "Now it's out there and it's like, I don't feel like that anymore. I release it."

Earlier this year, Henson admitted to relating to Tamar Braxton's suicidal thoughts, previously telling ET, "Every day is a struggle. I found myself struggling with not knowing or just giving up. Sometimes it just becomes too much and that is why the show is so important. Because when you see me, [hear] someone say that, then you don't feel alone."

"You feel embarrassed to have those thoughts, and why?" she added at the time. "Why should you feel embarrassed? That is a real thought that you're having in real time. Don't shun it. It's real. Deal with it."

Henson and Jade make opening up about difficult topics easier to do on their Facebook Watch show. Peace of Mind continues to focus on mental health issues in the Black community.

Among the season 2 topics include the difference between ADHD and ADD, as well as social anxiety and how it grew amid the pandemic, gun violence and more. They also have Chance the Rapper, Megan Thee Stallion, Chloe Bailey, Nicole Byer, Bretman Rock, G Herbo, Karl Anthony-Towns, Jordan Chiles and Angela Simmons as guests.

"When you are in those dark moments, and that's why this show is so important, if you could just hold on for another five minutes or for the next day, it always gets better," Henson explained. "Look at nature. The sun always comes out after every storm and you have to use that as a metaphor in your life."

Jade added, "There's so much catastrophe going on around us and we hold onto the catastrophic thoughts. And one thing that we've learned through therapy is to look for the other possibility. And then hold onto that, and see where that next moment leads you."

The women love creating a safe atmosphere for their guests and add that their conversations are "spontaneous."

As the CEO and director of the Boris Henson Foundation, which works to eradicate the stigma around mental health issues in the African American community, Jade knows the importance of having Black men also open up and talk about their feelings. "And we brought men on the show to help with that. Chance the Rapper talks a little bit about it, and we have several men, more men I think maybe this season than before."

Season 2 of Peace of Mind With Taraji P. Henson premieres Monday. Oct. 11 at 9 a.m. ET/12 p.m. PT. The second season will feature 10 new episodes, premiering weekly, on Mondays, on Facebook Watch.



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