Taraji P. Henson Hosts Annual Symposium to Promote Mental Health Awareness

    Actress Taraji P. Henson continues to be a prominent advocate for mental health, concluding Mental Health Awareness Month this past May with the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation’s annual Can We Talk? Symposium in Washington, D.C.

    The foundation, established in 2018 by Henson in honor of her father Boris Henson, aims to combat the stigma surrounding mental health in the Black community and to improve access to mental health services. Boris Henson, a Vietnam War veteran, struggled with untreated mental health issues, which inspired his daughter’s mission.

    Speaking at the symposium held at the Gaylord National Resort, Henson emphasized the broader purpose of art. “Art is much bigger than us as humans,” she said. “I feel like the art is supposed to be used to inspire and help other people.”

    The two-day conference, themed Radical Attunement, focused on helping attendees learn, grow, and connect. Radical Attunement encourages deep listening, empathic understanding, and authentic connection, creating spaces where individuals can be their true selves without judgment.

    RELATED: Dr. Michael Hannon: Why Good Mental Health Matters

    Highlights from the symposium, shared across Instagram, showcased panel discussions and personal reflections. A key focus was the mental health challenges faced by Black men. Former NFL player Dr. Jay Barnett participated in one of the panels, discussing his journey to becoming a therapist. “I have to not only break this cycle,” Barnett said. “But I said I have to be a voice because these brothers have to be transformed here [the mind]. All this talking does nothing. You have to transform the mind.”

    The symposium also included moments of celebration and community. To ensure a sense of belonging and camaraderie, Henson’s foundation hosted a 90’s themed party, Bobo’s Joy Joint, concluding the event on a high note.

    “I wouldn’t attach my name to anything just to say I had a charity,” Henson remarked. “This one was very near and dear to me because it came out of my own necessity.”

    Henson’s ongoing efforts and the annual symposium underscore her commitment to raising awareness and providing support for mental health issues, particularly within the Black community.

    The actress was just announced as the host of the 2024 BET Awards airing live on June 30 at 8pm EST.

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