It’s okay to not be okay, especially right now, says Taraji P. Henson, who has won several awards for her acting. She started a group to fight stigmas around Black mental health care in honor of her late father. She has been an activist for a long time. Right now, as we deal with the effects of Covid-19 and social isolation, she is doing everything she can to make sure we treat our minds and bodies with care.
The site crashed on the first day after word spread that her Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation was providing free online therapy to help Black people deal with the stress of the coronavirus outbreak. That many people were trying to sign up, and the need was that important.
That was on April 15. Since then, more than 1,000 people have signed up for the Free Virtual Therapy Support Campaign, according to the foundation’s executive director, Tracie Jenkins.
The reaction Henson was hoping for came from people in her community, where mental health and wellness are still seen as taboo. The actress told ZORA that she thinks therapy and being open will help us get through this pandemic and come out better on the other side.
ZORA: It’s great that you’re so open about your anxiety and sadness. Do you have any tips for getting through the pandemic? How are things going?
I’ve been pretty stable with my emotions and bad days lately because I’ve started doing arts and crafts, like getting my nails done. You can always find something to keep me busy. There are some stories I need to read, but I don’t want it all to be about work. Every day when I think about other people, my heart breaks, and that makes me have bad days too. I made the Virtual Therapy Support Campaign because I know that people are suffering alone, which is the worst thing that can happen.