Taraji P. Henson Creates Mental Health Foundation to Honor Late Father

Illustration for article titled Taraji P. Henson Creates Mental Health Foundation to Honor Late Father
Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Refinery29

Taraji P. Henson wants to remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues in the African-American community and has created an organization to honor her late father who suffered from mental health issues. On September 22, the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named after her father, officially launches.

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“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,” Henson said. “My dad fought in the Vietnam War for our country, returned broken, and received little to no physical and emotional support. I stand now in his absence, committed to offering support to African Americans who face trauma daily, simply because they are black.”

According to People, in addition to Henson’s foundation providing scholarships to African-American students majoring in mental health, it will also offer mental health services to youth in urban schools and work to lower the recidivism rates of African-American men and women.

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Tracie Jenkins, executive director for the foundation, says the foundation is “breaking the silence by speaking out and encouraging others to share their challenges with mental illness and get the help they need.

Bye, Kinja! It's been fun (occasionally).

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DISCUSSION

This is important.

I work in the mental health community, and African Americans are a very under served population. It’s not so much due to discrimination, as it is the nature of the business. Unless someone is a danger to themselves or others, we cannot intervene unless they come forward seeking services. The stigma against mental health, coupled with the “tough guy” persona pushed by mainstream media, leads to a lot of people in that community who fall through the cracks sadly.