By Susan Johnes
Posted November 22nd 2018
The award-winning “Empire” actress is proving to be on a mission to tackle mental health in African American communities.
The actress has founded a non-profit organization named the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in honor of her late father, who battled mental health woes himself.
The organization will provide scholarships to African American students majoring in mental health and offer mental health services to youth in urban schools.
With this project, Henson also aims to challenge the stigmas concerning black experiences and ‘to lower the recidivism rates of African-American men and women.’
Speaking about her latest passion project, Henson said: – “This means everything to me” of the organization she says is “God’s purpose” for her.
In a letter posted on the foundation’s website, Henson wrote: –
“I named the organization after my father because of his complete and unconditional love for me; his unabashed, unashamed ability to tell the truth, even if it hurt; and his strength to push through his own battles with mental health issues,” she continued.
“My dad fought in the Vietnam War for our country, returned broken, and received little to no physical and emotional support.”
Some of the primary goals that the foundation hopes to achieve include provide mental health support in Black schools, reduce the recidivism rate and increase the number of Black therapists.
Mr. Henson lost his battle with liver cancer in 2006 at 58 years old. “I stand now in his absence, committed to offering support to African Americans who face trauma daily, simply because they are black,” Henson said.
Henson is set to host a launch event for the foundation on Sept. 22 in Los Angeles with a fundraising event, Taraji’s Boutique of Hope.
All proceeds will help to provide mental health resources, therapists, social workers, and counsellors to African American children and urban schools, as well as scholarships to African Americans majoring in mental health.