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To Stand Against Suicide; This Faith-Driven Actress—Star of 'Hidden Figures'—Shares Her Own Mental Health Struggles

Josh Shepherd : Jun 19, 2019  The Stream

"In the African-American community, we don't deal with mental health issues," said Henson. "We don't even talk about it ... We can't give up on our kids. The more we talk about [mental health], the more people will feel like they can talk about it." -Taraji P. Henson

[] Responding to the rise of suicide among American youth, a Congressional hearing on Friday featured a star witness. Golden Globe winner and former teacher Taraji P. Henson spoke up on this growing trend claiming thousands of lives. (Image: actress Taraji P. Henson/C-SPAN/YouTube/via The Stream)

"I really don't know how to fix this problem," said Henson in a taskforce hearing of the Congressional Black Caucus. "I just know that the suicide rate is rising.

"The ages of the children committing suicide are getting younger and younger. It breaks my heart that five-year-old children are contemplating life and death."

According to the CDC, suicide ranks as the second leading cause of death among youth and adolescents. Henson specified where her research has found causal factors for these trends.

"It's the damage of social media," she said. "We have to turn this boat around or we're going to lose humanity—and it starts with the kids. We need to focus on our children now."

Other youth advocates have reached similar conclusions. Released on Netflix in March, the documentary Social Animals features several teens who use top social platform Instagram for positive and negative purposes.

"The human condition has not changed," says film director Jonathan Ignatius Green. "But there is a new digital landscape in our pockets. The thing that has changed is the speed. It's striking how many interactions kids are having per day on Instagram. That's what's new about social media."

In the film, one teen girl shares candidly why she attempted suicide after being bullied online.

"I don't think a lot of people know I tried taking my life," says Emma Crockett in an interview. "But I shared it in the film because I want people to know how serious words can be—and actions through social media"... Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

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