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Taraji P. Henson got emotional on Friday discussing the history and stigma of mental health in the black community at Variety’s Power of Women NY presented by Lifetime.

“The history of mental illness for black people in America stretches all the way back 400 years, 15 million people, and an ocean that holds the stories,” she continued.

Later she spoke about her dad’s struggles with mental illness after he returned home from the Vietnam war.

Henson received the honor for her work with the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. “Our vision is to eradicate the stigma around mental health in the black community by breaking the silence and breaking a cycle of shame. We were taught to hold our problems close to the vest out of fear of being labeled and further demonized as weak, or inadequate,” said Henson. Breaking down in tears, she called the state of mental health for black people a “national crisis.”

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