Actress Taraji P. Henson is furthering her efforts to provide the Black community with mental health resources amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Deadline, her Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation joined forces with the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation to raise funds that will support essential workers who are battling with mental illnesses during this unprecedented time.
The effort was launched on Giving Tuesday; an international day of charitable giving designed to support organizations leading impactful initiatives. Typically, the day is observed the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States, but due to the urgent needs of organizations who are on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic, the “Giving Tuesday Now” campaign started on May 5. Henson’s nonprofit and the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation—which was founded by the late Afeni Shakur—launched a gift-matching campaign to raise money that will cover the costs of virtual sessions with culturally competent therapists for those in need. Up to $25,000 of the funds raised will be matched and donated to Henson’s organization.
This isn’t the first mental health initiative the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation has led during the pandemic. The organization started the COVID-19 Free Virtual Therapy Support Campaign to eliminate the socio-economic barriers surrounding seeking help for depression, anxiety, fear and other forms of emotional and psychological trauma. The services provided through the effort—which are on a first-come, first-serve basis until all the funds are used—cover the costs for up to five virtual therapy sessions.
“This campaign is for underserved communities experiencing life-changing events related to or triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Henson in a statement. “In the African American community, we’ve been taught to tough it out; hide our suffering. This is something none of us have ever experienced and no one should suffer in silence.”