The effect of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, has caused massive changes to our society that will have lasting physical and mental consequences around the world. Unemployment claims have hit a record high with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost due to the outbreak. Actress Taraji P. Henson is stepping up to help those who need therapy make it through this difficult time.
The actress has launched the COVID-19 Free Virtual Therapy Campaign through her nonprofit organization, the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, which focuses on mental health initiatives for the African American community. Her initiative comes when data has surfaced showing how COVID-19 disproportionately affects members of the black community, particular in major cities such as Chicago and Milwaukee.
The campaign will raise money to cover the costs of mental health services delivered by licensed and culturally competent clinicians. The initiative will be exclusive to individuals and families who have been directly impacted by the coronavirus public health crisis.
“It’s our priority to provide care to those in need, who do not have accessibility or the ability to afford culturally competent therapists. We also need to remove the stigma around mental illness. It’s OK not to be OK,” says BLHF executive director Tracie Jade Jenkins.
Henson wishes more people, particularly African American men, talked about their mental health issues. “They are told to be strong and tough it out and told that you’re weak if you have issues,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re all human. We’re all in this thing called life together, and it is tough. We’re not afraid to talk about having a root canal or there’s no shame in having a thyroid issue or even cancer. Why can’t we talk about mental health in the same way?”
Registration will open via the foundation’s website on April 15. Donations can be made by texting NOSTIGMA to 707070.