*Taraji P. Henson is the latest celebrity to open the dialogue about mental illness in the black community courtesy of her new foundation to honor her late father.
In an exclusive with PEOPLE, Henson details her hopes to end the stigma surrounding mental health through the launch of the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named after her late father who died in 2006 at the age of 58 after his own battle with mental illness.
According to the publication, a few of the foundation’s objectives include: “providing scholarships to African-American students majoring in mental health, offering mental health services to youth in urban schools and working to lower the recidivism rates of African-American men and women.”
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On naming the foundation after her father, Henson said “I named the organization after my father because of his complete and unconditional love for me; his unabashed, unashamed ability to tell the truth, even if it hurt; and his strength to push through his own battles with mental health issues.”
To celebrate her new endeavor, Henson is hosting the fundraising event, Taraji’s Boutique of Hope, on September 22 in Los Angeles. All proceeds raised will go towards the foundation’s mission to ‘help provide resources to increase mental health support in urban schools.’
The BLHF will also reportedly partner with local school districts to provide mental health therapists, social workers and counselors to at-risk Black children and other nonprofit organizations offering mental health wellness programs.
“BLHF is breaking the silence by speaking out and encouraging others to share their challenges with mental illness and get the help they need. African-Americans have regarded such communication as a sign of weakness and our vision is to change that perception,” said Traci Jenkins, BLHF’s executive director.
In related news, Henson has slammed reports that she is headed to South Africa next month to take part in the inaugural International Women in Media conference in Johannesburg.
Henson was billed to appear with Halle Berry, Ashanti and female South African media personalities including Bonang Matheba, Amanda du Pont, Connie Ferguson and Claire Mawisa at the event.
But she retweeted a message from the C.S.A group, the PR company which represents Bonang Matheba, and said “I hate that this organization is misleading my fans.”
Taraji, who appears all over the promotional posters for the event, called it fake news and urged her followers to get “their money back.”
Meanwhile, she is set to return to the small screen as Cookie Lyon when season 5 of her FOX hit series “Empire” returns on September 26.