Since Taraji P. Henson launched The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF) in honor of her father, the organization has conducted several listening sessions with therapists, social workers, educators and mental health leaders across the nation.
The goal of the tour is to identify trends in education, faith, and family that have perpetuated the stigma around mental health in the black community. One of the key pillars of the foundation is to provide urban schools with additional resources to address the mental health needs of African-American students. “We will increase mental health support in urban schools that demonstrate the highest need based on research and data collected from working groups consisting of Principals, counselors, teachers, social workers, parents and therapists,” said Tracie Jenkins. This work begins in Taraji’s hometown of Washington, D.C., where Mayor Muriel Bowser recently named February 8th as Taraji P. Henson Day in honor of her contributions to the nation’s capital.
BLHF has partnered with PROJECT 375, who will provide Youth Mental First Aid training for teachers and staff in eight public schools in Washington, D.C. BLHF will also support trauma-informed curriculum workshops and classes that educate and engage students, teachers, and families throughout the school year.
The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation focuses on eradicating the stigma around mental health in the African-American community. According to the BLHF website, “We were taught to hold our problems close to the vest out of fear of being labeled and further demonized as inapt, weak, and/or inadequate. African-Americans also have a history of being misdiagnosed, so there is mistrust associated with therapy.”
BLHF is near and dear to Taraji P. Henson’s heart, because, as she says, “Everything I do is for the positive, forward movement of humanity.” On January 28th, Henson received the 2,655th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. She dedicated her star to the next generation of actresses, while paying respect to those who came before her. “I fight for roles that will break through glass ceilings so that with these young women coming behind me, they won’t have the same narrative that we had,” she said.
“That’s how powerful art is. I don’t take anything for granted,” says Henson. “Every role I take on is just as special as the last one.”
Source: The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation
Photo credit: TOMMASO BODDI/STRINGER/GETTY IMAGES