ABC/Paula LoboAfter sharing her own struggles with depression and anxiety, Taraji P. Henson has announced she’s launching a two-day mental health summit via her Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, which she founded in 2018.
The foundation is named after Henson’s father, a Vietnam veteran who struggled with mental health issues. The summit will take place June 7-9 in Washington, D.C., according to People, and will include an inaugural “Can We Talk?” conference and a benefit dinner.
Attendees can interact with mental health experts, policy-makers and thought leaders who are working towards finding ways to end the mental health stigma in at-risk communities.
“Mental illness is a huge issue in the black community. The suicide rate of young people has doubled in the last 15 years, this is a national crisis,” said Henson in a statement, according to People.
“We are working to normalizing the conversation in our communities at a younger age to eradicate the stigma. We have to start somewhere — and I believe openly talking about it is a good place to start.”
The summit will kick off on June 7 with a keynote address by Dr. Altha J. Stewart, the first African-American — and first woman — to be named President of the American Psychiatric Association.
In addition to providing urban schools with resources to address mental health, Henson and her foundation are hoping to raise $500,000 via the summit’s benefit dinner. Proceeds will go to pay for therapy sessions for those who’ve never tried therapy before.
Additional guest speakers and performances will be announced in the coming weeks.