Taraji P. Henson on ABC’s “The View”; ABC/Lou RoccoAlthough she’s known for her role as Cookie Lyon on the television series Empire, Taraji P. Henson has taken on a new role as a founder of virtual therapy. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Henson launched free online therapy services targeted to African-Americans.
In an interview with ABC News, Henson said her inspiration for starting the campaign was to help people suffering in isolation.
“You’re already talking about underserved communities, these people … a lot of them have come from traumatic situations, are living in traumatic situations and now you’re talking about quarantining,” Henson said.
Henson’s conducting the campaign through her Boris L. Henson Foundation, a nonprofit organization she founded in 2018 named after her father, Boris Lawrence Henson, who also suffered with mental health challenges as a result of his service during the Vietnam War.
“Because I’m blessed, my father always told me to be a blessing. I started this foundation because of the stigma around mental health in the African-American community,” said Henson.
Her foundation’s focus is to offset the costs of mental health services which can be a barrier for some.
“Having to choose between a meal and mental health is not something that one should ever have to ponder,” said Henson. “It’s okay to be vulnerable…I don’t want to be strong all the time… It’s physically and mentally impossible in today’s world.”
Henson called the response to her campaign, “overwhelming.”
“We have hundreds of new therapists that have signed up. And our site actually crashed. We had to recalibrate for 30 minutes because of the overwhelming response,” she said.
The campaign will cover the cost of five sessions of therapy for “individuals with life-changing stressors and anxiety related to the coronavirus.”
Virtual therapy sessions are now available through the BLHF website.
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