Taraji P. Henson Launches Mental Health Initiative For Women At Hampton University
Thanks to Henson’s partnership with American retailer Kate Spade New York, women at the HBCU Hampton University in Virginia can take part in the “She Care Wellness Pods” program. The program expansion follows a successful April launch at Alabama State University.
The Wellness Pods are newly installed structures on campuses that offer a range of services, including free therapy sessions, hangout spaces for students to connect with peers or avoid isolation during the school year and vacation periods, as well as yoga, meditation, art, and drama therapy.
Other resources include entertaining African dance and nutrition provided by certified practitioners, workshops for those who suffer from anxiety, sleep deprivation, and insomnia, and quiet spaces for breaks from daily stresses.
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“When we first had the idea to create the Boris L. Henson Foundation Self-Care Wellness Pods, I knew we had to start with women, and specifically women on HBCU campuses,” Henson said.
“I can remember through my own experiences with stress and anxiety, not having the adequate support to deal with my issues or the education to name what I was experiencing.”
The Hidden Figures star started the mental health-focused initiative for Black women through The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF), the foundation she created in 2018 to eradicate the stigma around mental health in the Black community.
“Black women, from a very young age, are taught to be strong and dismiss their own suffering, tending to the needs of family and community often at the expense of their own well-being,” BLHF Executive Director Tracie Jade said. “The She Care Wellness pods seek to change this narrative.”
“Our shared vision and partnership with Kate Spade New York has been vital in promoting conversations and offering support to students to take care of their mental health, starting with our successful launch of She Care Wellness pods at Alabama State University,” Henson added. “We are proud to open our second installment at Hampton University this fall.”
For the design of the pods, students were selected to create a design that stimulates joy, peace, and serenity through intentional design and color selection. Each mural was painted on the outside of the containers to reflect the diversity of women and connection in the local study body.