Anthony Anderson encourages Black people to open up about mental health issues

The actor said his late half-brother, who struggled with mental illness, inspired his interest in the subject.

Anthony Anderson spoke about advocating for mental health issues during a charity event in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, People reports. 

The “Black-ish” actor hosted the ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES ‘It’s Okay Knot To Be Okay’ Black Tie & Sneaker Gala at The Anthem on May 13. NFL Pro Lamar Jackson developed the inaugural ‘Edutainment’ experience to “promote the public’s awareness of mental health illnesses and disorders along with providing available resources while changing the narrative surrounding mental health and the stigma associated with it,” per a news release

ABC's "BLACK-ISH" Los Angeles Special Screening Event - Red Carpet
Anthony Anderson attends ABC’s “BLACK-ISH” Los Angeles special screening event at El Capitan Theatre on June 6, 2022, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

In an interview with People, Anderson said his late half-brother, who struggled with mental illness, inspired his interest in the subject. Now the actor is on a mission to spread awareness about mental health, especially within the Black community.

“I had a half-brother that I really didn’t have a relationship with — because we didn’t know one another — who had mental issues,” Anderson told People. 

“And now that he’s gone, I was like, ‘Well, you know, maybe I should have stepped in a little sooner than today,” he added, noting that he should have been more proactive when his relative was alive. 

African American households rarely discuss mental health, Anderson suggested, since it is a touchy subject.  

“I’m here to say it’s okay to not be okay. We are here for you,” he said.

According to researchers at Columbia University, Black adults are 20% more likely to suffer from serious mental health problems like Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. 

Research consistently shows that the Black community is significantly more likely to develop mental health issues because of systemic racism in economics, housing, health care, criminal justice, employment, and political factors, which are proven to negatively impact psychological and physical health.  

During the DC gala, Anderson was asked if Hollywood should do more to bring this conversation to the forefront. 

“All things are needed for this, but more importantly, conversation, dialogue, you know, within our community,” he said at the event, according to People.

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