Taraji P. Henson is an American actress, singer, songwriter, and producer. She has won multiple award nominations for her acting prowess, thanks to the strong female characters she portrays on set. Along with her thriving career, Taraji is a mental health advocate. She hasbeen very open about her struggles with mental health issues, and that's why she has been at the forefront of speaking out about mental wellness, especially people of color. Read on for more details on Taraji P. Henson's work in mental health advocacy.
Mental Health Activism
Taraji has always been vocal on issues affecting the Black community, among them mental health issues. “Acting put me on a platform, and I always thought that I was touching lives through acting, but this foundation is actually saving lives,” Taraji told Elle. “I’m grateful that acting led me to a larger life purpose.”
Taraji P. Henson Founded the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation.
Her father, Boris Lawrence Henson, was a Vietnam veteran, and he had bipolar disorder, as well as other health struggles. After her father's death, Taraji saw a gap in the mental health industry, as there wasn't enough knowledge or platforms to help mental health victims. That's when the idea of starting the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation came up.
The foundation is named after her father and is a mental health advocacy group for the Black community. BHLF connects victims to well-trained health and wellness practitioners, counselors, and clinicians to find the problem's root cause and devise a customized solution. It is a registered non-profit organization solely designed to help the black community. Through the organization, people can find hope again and live more fulfilling lives.
How Taraji P. Henson Stays Mentally Fit
Besides the organization, Taraji does not shy away from expressing the need to stay mentally fit and rest when necessary. She uses her social media platforms to share helpful tips on mental health and encourage those suffering. At the beginning of 2023, Taraji took a sabbatical trip to Bali, a spiritual trip she often calls a journey. She wasn't doing well mentally and was mostly unhappy. Due to her busy working schedule, she needed to relax, refresh, and get back to herself, hence the decision to make the one-month trip journey to Bali.
After the trip, she was no longer mentally overwhelmed, and her happiness returned. She shares most of her encounters to encourage other people to take time for themselves, hence, stay mentally fit.
Taraji P. Henson Also Works to Bring Therapy to HBCUs.
While it's not entirely possible to prevent mental health challenges, it's possible to avoid their impact, and that's what Taraji is trying to do. Following her trip to Bali, the actress teamed up with Kate Spade to build oases on HBCU campuses that provide free virtual and in-person therapy sessions for female students who may not have access to those resources.
“It's really hard to find someone that looks like us, that I can talk to and feel comfortable speaking to," she told USA Today. "Because we don't talk about it at home. There aren't enough therapists out there because our kids aren't going into that field because we talk about it." The first wellness pod will be at Alabama State University, and is just the latest way Taraji is giving back to the community when it comes to mental health advocacy.