Taraji P. Henson is putting her time in quarantine to good use and created a mental health service for the Black community. Taraji announced the new initiative on Instagram on Wednesday, where she took note of the hardships and struggles Black communities are facing during this dangerous time of COVID-19. Through her free “virtual therapy” service, she offers a platform that is not only affordable but addresses an overlooked issue. The Empire and Hidden Figures actress knows first-hand what mental health challenges look like. Her late father, Boris Lawrence Henson, for whom her foundation is named after, struggled with his own battles after serving in the Vietnam War.
The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation was founded in 2018 and the goal of the BLHF COVID-19 Virtual Therapy Campaign is to address the effects social distancing, unemployment, sudden loss and other coronavirus based stressors have on the Black populations. Her goal is to provide a space where people can manage their anxiety in a healthy way. Part of the mission statement for the initiative reads:
“Given the life-changing events related to or triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, many are suffering in silence and isolation. The Boris L. Henson Foundation (BLHF) recognizes that during this difficult time, affording the cost of mental health services can be a barrier in the African-American community. Having to choose between a meal and mental health is not something that one should ever have to ponder.”
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On Instagram, Taraji spoke about the stigma within the Black community when it comes to seeking mental health and encouraged her followers not to hide their pain, but instead use her free service to ease and combat their sadness and anxiety.
The initiative will cover the cost of five individual sessions for each participant and is provided on a first come first serve basis. The sessions begin on April 15.
If you are or know a mental health provider who would be interested in offering their services, click here. However, if you’re just looking to support mental health efforts in vulnerable communities, text NOSTIGMA to 707070.
This article was originally posted on MadameNoire.com