Taraji P. Henson is helping Black people in underserved communities get mental health treatment over the telephone as they’re dealing with the current pandemic.
She’s launching the initiative through her Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, and the assistance is aimed at people who’ve been impacted by the virus.
It’s something that Henson talked about on Instagram, Wednesday, April 8, and the program is called the “COVID-19 Free Virtual Therapy Campaign.” Henson is asking for donations to help pay for the service, which will be staffed by culturally competent clinicians.
“Anxiety and stress build up quickly with so many changes every day, and if you’re anything like me you need someone to lean on to talk to, to help manage your anxiety,” said Henson in the clip. “But I also know it’s not easy for everyone to pick up the phone and call a therapist. Because who’s going to pay for it?”
People can register on the foundation’s website on April 15 for the therapy and make donations by texting NOSTIGMA to 707070.
According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday April 8, Black communities have been affected by severe cases of the illness the most.
Researchers looked at 1,482 people who’ve been hospitalized with the illness in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Utah.
There were 580 of those patients whose race was listed, and 45 percent of them were white, while 33 percent were Black. The disparity lies in the number of Black people living in those 14 states versus those who are white.
“It’s our priority to provide care to those in need who do not have accessibility or the ability to afford culturally competent therapists,” the foundation’s executive director, Tracie Jade Jenkins, told the Hollywood Reporter. “We also need to remove the stigma around mental illness. It’s OK not to be OK.”
Henson started the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018 to help Black children have access to mental health assistance during school. She named the foundation after her father, who had PTSD from his military service during the Vietnam War.