Illustration for article titled Taraji P. Henson, Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation Offering Mental Health Initiatives Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Photo: Rich Fury (Getty Images)

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and now more than ever, it’s incredibly important to have mental health check-ins with yourself and loved ones in order to stay sane during these challenging times. Taraji P. Henson is working to ensure that in the age of COVID-19, the mental health of those on the frontlines remains intact. Additionally, those who are attempting to cope with lifestyle changes or suffer from issues stemming from substance abuse will be able to get the help they need.

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On #GivingTuesdayNow, which was created in response to the “unprecedented need” for assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, Henson’s nonprofit organization the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF) teamed up with The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation (TASF) on May 5 in order to provide assistance, support and education to “essential workers, first responders, health care providers, doctors, individuals, families and youth,” which includes free access to mental health therapy. Historically, Giving Tuesday, known as a worldwide day of unity, generosity and helping others, is recognized on the first Tuesday in December.

Additionally, BLHF launched the COVID-19 Free Virtual Therapy Support Campaign in order to raise money for individuals to access mental health services with licensed clinicians in their network, free of charge. She is especially aiming to assist members of the black community during this time. As we know, the cost of mental health services can be an issue in the black community, which makes this campaign even more crucial.

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“No one should suffer in silence,” Henson says of the importance of access to affordable mental health assistance. “Our vision is to change the perception of mental health in the black community. Together, we will make a difference. This is our legacy.”

All funds up to $25,000 raised by TASF on Giving Tuesday Now will be matched and donated to BLHF. Immediately after, TASF plans to launch a fundraising campaign in order to begin the Healing Tank, “an ongoing mental-health wellness program that will allow individuals an opportunity to receive services designed to address mental health needs; i.e. depression, anxiety, substance abuse, etc. and to help with long-term trauma and triggers caused by COVID-19.”

“Individuals with life-changing stressors and anxiety related to COVID-19 will have the cost for up to five individual sessions defrayed on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are committed or exhausted,” the press release reads.

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Supporters of the campaign can text SHAKUR to 44321 to donate. This campaign will be active until June 16, Tupac Shakur’s birthday.

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Music and culture journalist. Pronounced "Jay-nuh."

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