Lance Gross And Other Celebrities Who Openly Swear By Therapy And Good Mental Health

These Black celebrities are dispelling mental health stigmas.

With all the glitz and glam of fame, celebrities still have issues in their lives they need to sort through, too. That's where therapy comes in! More and more celebs are taking down their picture-perfect persona and opening up about what life is like under the microscope of society (anxiety, loneliness, depression, etc.).

Thankfully, many celebrities, including Serena Williams, Taraji P. Henson and Big Sean have found therapy useful to bring back their inner light. 

  • Lance Gross

    Lance Gross is the latest celebrity to become vocal about mental health awareness for Black men. The Award-winning actor partnered with Didi Hirsch for their event,  Alive Together: Uniting to Prevent Suicide. It was a global gathering encouraging supporters to walk 2,160 steps (about 1 mile). The event took place virtually and in person at Exposition Park in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 14th, remembering the 2,160 people lost globally to suicide each day.

    The event raised over $400,000 for Didi Hirsch’s premiere Suicide Prevention Center offering comprehensive, compassionate crisis care, keeping kids, adults, and families safe. The Center counsels over 350 callers and texters every day and is leading California’s thirteen 988 Crisis Centers to scale on behalf of the State – pivotal work with

    44,000 Americans died by suicide last year, 1.4 million adults attempting suicide each year, and experts recently declared alarming increases in youth attempts a national emergency.

    The ’Meet The Paynes’ actor shared a photo to Instagram while at the march with a caption that read: “Started today fighting for a good cause. Two thousand one hundred sixty steps today for the 2160 people we lose each day to suicide #AliveTogether @didi_hirsch Thank you to everyone that showed up and showed out.”

  • Issa Rae

    Just before 2019 was up, Issa Rae explained in an episode of The Read with Kid Fury and Crissle West her realization that she struggled with superwoman syndrome, a mentality she says she adopted from her mother and her grandmother:

    "I know y'all get this all the time, but you guys having conversations about therapy and mental health really got me thinking about it because I don't consider myself troubled necessarily. But being in this industry, there's just a lot that I don't say. There's a lot that I take on. There's a lot that I sweep under the rug that I think is just normal––that you're supposed to do."

    "And I think specifically as a Black woman, I watched my mom do it. I watched my grandmother do it. It's just, you take it on and you're just like, that's life and you don't want to burden other people with your problems. And so you guys talked about it all the time and it just made me feel like, 'Oh, I should go.'"

    That realization led her to therapy, which is something she makes sure to prioritize:

    "And I think the first time I finally made the time to go was just last year. I did three little sessions and I f**ked with it. But it is important to not necessarily go because you think something's wrong, but you should if you're in an industry like this, prioritize it because nobody else will. And that's what I've learned just throughout my journey here."

  • Kerry Washington

    Kerry Washington is one celebrity who likes to keep her private life VERY private. The 'Scandal' and 'American Son' star revealed in an upcoming interview with Willie Geist of 'Sunday Today' that, for her own mental health, she refrains from sharing a lot about her personal life with the world.

    "I liked being a character actor and I liked people being able to suspend disbelief and believe that I'm other people—and so, I decided not to talk about my personal life that much in the press because I'd had some experiences where I had talked about my personal life and it didn't feel good."

    When asked how she fights the urge to post about her family on social media, Kerry admits that it's actually really hard so she leans on her shrink as her personal Instagram!

    "I have moments where I take pictures or videos of one of my three amazing kids and I want to post it online, and I tend to just send it to my parents or to my shrink instead! I'm like, 'My kids are so cute and I don't want to post about them, so look at how cute they are!'"

  • Taraji P. Henson

    The Jasmine Brand shared Empire actress Taraji P. Henson's difficult experience finding her son a Black therapist, which led to her creating the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation.

    While sharing details of her search "for a unicorn," Taraji shared her experience dealing with anxiety and depression due to fame:

    “I suffer from depression. My anxiety is kicking up even more every day, and I’ve never really dealt with anxiety like that. It’s something new… It [fame] was fun at first, but the older I get, the more private I want to be. I think there’s a misconception with people in the limelight that we have it all together, and because we have money now and are living out our dreams, everything is fine. That’s not the case. When they yell ‘Cut’ and ‘That’s a wrap,’ I go home to very serious problems. I’m still a real human.”

    She continues by sharing why she goes to the therapist regularly: “That’s the only way I can get through it. You can talk to your friends, but you need a professional who can give you exercises. So that when you’re on the ledge, you have things to say to yourself that will get you off that ledge and past your weakest moments.”

    As for her explanation why therapists are needed in the Black community:
    “We’re walking around broken, wounded and hurt, and we don’t think it’s OK to talk about it. We don’t talk about it at home. It’s shunned. It’s something that makes you look weak. We’re told to pray it away. Everyone was always asking me, ‘Do you have a charity?’ Well, dammit, this is going to be my calling, because I’m sick of this. People are killing themselves. People are numbing out on drugs. Not everything is fixed with a pill.”

    Further, Taraji would like to expand access to African American teens. She wants to let teens know they matter even in a world that may tell them they don't. 

    On the TODAY Show (Oct. 8) Taraji recalled “Trying to find a culturally competent therapist was like looking for a purple unicorn with a gold horn."

    The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation offers schloarships to Black students who would like to student mental health in efforts to build a larger cohort of Black therapist. 

    Taraji aims to measure her foundations success by the increased access to mental health resources and a rise in the number of Black therapists.

    “I want to touch as many children as possible. These babies are suffering, and I just feel that is what God sent me here to do. I finally figured it out."

  • Serena Williams

    39-time Grand Slam tennis player, Serena Williams penned a first-person feature for Harper Bazaar where she opened up about her mental struggles following her 2018 US Open defeat. 

    "In the end, my opponent simply played better than me that day and ended up winning her first Grand Slam title. I could not have been happier for her. As for me, I felt defeated and disrespected by a sport that I love—one that I had dedicated my life to and that my family truly changed, not because we were welcomed, but because we wouldn’t stop winning," Serena wrote.

    The star mentioned that her sleepless nights and constant thoughts of the defeat led her to seek a therapist. 

    "I was searching for answers, and although I felt like I was making progress, I still wasn’t ready to pick up a racket. Finally I realized that there was only one way for me to move forward. It was time for me to apologize to the person who deserved it the most," Serena explained.

    Serena contacted Naomi Osaka explaining her thoughts. Naomi's response gave Serena a new perspective of the situation. "It was in this moment that I realized the real reason the US Open was so hard for me to get over: It wasn’t because of the backlash I faced but rather because of what had happened to the young woman who deserved so much more in her special moment. I had felt that it was my fault and that I should have kept my mouth closed."

  • Big Sean

    Rapper Big Sean removed all his Instagram posts and replaced them with a three-part video series sharing what led him to search for clarity in himself. 

    "I just felt lost. You know what I'm saying? I didn't know how I got there. I've been meditating since I was 17 years old,” he shared in the IG video. "You know, that helps with anxiety, depression all those things. All those things that I felt. But it wasn't doing it all the way for this, so I knew that this required some special attention.

    "So what I did was, I started therapy," he continued. "I got a good therapist. You know what I'm saying? I was blessed enough to talk to some super spiritual people. And they made me realize one thing that I was missing in my life, and that was clarity.”

    Watch Big Sean open up about his mental health:

  • Simone Biles

    Simone Biles sat down with Priyanka Chopra Jonas for her inspirational YouTube series, If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, which aired on the platform March 27, and things got personal

    When Chopra Jonas asked the highly decorated gymnast how she dealt with pressure, Simone was direct in saying that therapy helped her through some of her rough times. 

    "Therapy. Therapy is everything," she said.

    Simone also admitted that therapy helps her through some everyday issues as well. 

    "Therapy today needs to be more normalized."

  • Click HERE to hear more of what Simone had to say. 

  • Ariana Grande

    Ariana Grande took to social media to open up about her current mental health.

    “Jus [sic] saying, thanks for being supportive of my random, impulsive and excessive music releases. The first few years of this were really hard on my mental health and energy," Ariana reportedly posted on her Instagram stories.

    She went on to add, "I was so tired from promo trips and was always losing my voice and never knew what city I was in when I woke up. It was so much. It was worth it and I am grateful for everything I learned and accomplished when I did things that way, of course.”

    She continued, “But I just feel so much more connected now and yeah… If I feel like I’m able to make special things with my incredible friends quickly, why not share them right away?

    “It’s a very dope feeling and has breathed so much air back into my lil lungs. Thank u thank u,” she concluded.

  • Shad 'Bow Wow' Moss

    Fans were quite alarmed when Shad "Bow Wow" Moss sent out what seemed to be a cry for help. Not too long after, the rapper took to Twitter letting his fans know he's going to see his "therapist soon as I land," adding, "because if not, I'm 1 sec from throwing it all away!"

    Many were glad to know he had no problem seeking a confidential place to open up about his feelings without all the fanfare. It's definitely healthier to share with someone rather than bottling up your issues.

  • Michelle Williams

    (Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Red Light Management)
    (Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Red Light Management)

    Before checking into a mental health facility for depression, Michelle Williams opened up to Forbes about how she deals with the pressures of being a celebrity entrepreneur, "I did 90 days of nothing and it was some of the most excruciating 90 days – it was intense moments of letting stuff go, having hurtful conversations that needed to take place, therapy, bible study, and more.”

  • Jay-Z

    “I want to have the emotional tools that it takes to keep my family together. And much like you, I have a beautiful wife who’s understanding and knew I’m not the worst of what I’ve done. We did the hard work of going to therapy and you know, we love each other, right? So we really put in the work,” Jay-Z told David Letterman on Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction about seeking couples therapy with his wife, Beyoncé.

  • Kerry Washington

    “My brain and my heart are really important to me. I don’t know why I wouldn’t seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth. I go to the dentist. So why wouldn’t I go to a shrink?” Kerry Washington told Glamour magazine.

    She also told Essence, "Learning how to love myself and my body is a lifelong process. But I definitely don't struggle the way I used to. Therapy helped me realize that maybe it's OK for me to communicate my feelings. Instead of literally stuffing them down with food, maybe it's OK for me to express myself."

  • Tina Knowles Lawson

    “I took them to counseling so that, very early, the counselor could help Beyoncé be more sensitive to Solange,” Tina Knowles Lawson explained to Maria Shriver during a Facebook discussion about taking her daughters to therapy to prepare them for celebrity life.

    “She [Solange] couldn’t stand her for a minute. You know, they were little, [Solange] was all in her stuff, trying to hang around her and her friends, and Beyoncé was really irritated, but it made her more sensitive to who her sister was and what she had to deal with because of her.”

  • Halle Berry

    "I've done therapy on an as-needed basis since I was probably 10 years old. My father was an alcoholic and a very abusive one, and my mother knew the value of providing me with the outlet of an unbiased person to talk to, so I've done that all my life when times get stressful. It really helps me deal with stuff," Halle Berry told Hello! magazine.

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