Besides being an award-winning actress, director and producer, Taraji P. Henson is also a woman who uses her platform to help others especially as a mental health advocate. Hosting “culture’s biggest night” at the BET Awards 2022 for the second year in row, Henson also used the opportunity to announce that BET is partnering with the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (founded by Henson and named after her father) to offer 1 million hours of free mental health services for those in the Black community through the Joy Challenge.
“BET has been a driving force for social change since the very beginning,” said Jeanine Liburd, BET Social Impact & Communications Officer. adding, "We couldn’t have been more excited to celebrate and elevate Black music and culture at Sunday’s BET Awards and we are happy that we were able to celebrate Black joy and give back to our community ahead of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month this July. Amid today’s social climate, Ms. Henson and the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation were the perfect partners for the BET Awards Host Dinner, providing support, and bringing awareness to mental health issues that plague our Black community.”
In fact, the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation set and achieved their initial goal of raising $1 million dollars during the BET Awards Host Dinner.
"We are reigniting joy," stated Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation Executive Director Tracie Jade. "And it is our continued mission to allow every individual to choose what that looks like for themselves, even in the midst of the most challenging circumstances. Our mission has always been to offer the Black community the tools and resources needed to break the silence and the stigma. Through this partnership we can change our generational future."
The partnership will allow those in need to receive resources, training, connections, and support more easily than ever in places like festivals, conferences, HBCU college campuses across the country, tv/film set locations, recording studios and locker rooms. Non-traditional spaces like these provide comfortable access for our community to feel both seen and heard when inquiring about individual, family or group therapy. All with the intention of breaking the silence and stigma around mental health services. Those in need will be able to go to their local community centers, partnering nonprofits, entertainment and sports centers as well as urban school districts, salons and barbershops to receive free mental health and wellness services and resources.
According to research, mental health conditions affect one in four Black adults, yet only one in three receive the mental health care needed due to socioeconomic factors and a lack of African American mental health professionals. In an effort to eradicate the stigma around mental health issues and harness the collective power of our Black community, BET and the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation announced the #JoyOverEverything Challenge at the BET Awards Host benefit Dinner before the show to raise funds to support the one million hours of free mental health services.
For more information, visit www.borislhensonfoundation.org/onemillionhrs