The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF), founded by actress Taraji P. Henson, and Kate Spade New York recently announced that their joint initiative, the “She Care Wellness Pods,” which prioritizes mental health wellness and care among Black women on historically Black colleges and university (HBCU) campuses, is expanding to reach students at Hampton University (HU) in Virginia.

“When we first had the idea to create the Boris L. Henson Foundation Self-Care Wellness Pods, I knew we had to start with women, and specifically women on HBCU campuses,” Henson said in an HU news release. “I can remember through my own experiences with stress and anxiety, not having the adequate support to deal with my issues or the education to name what I was experiencing.” Indeed, the suicide rate among Black Americans overall has increased by 30% over the past decade.

The “She Care Wellness Pods” were first launched in April at Alabama State University. This fall, the joint initiative is expanding to reach students at HU, according to the news release.

The pods are physical structures installed on campuses that provide numerous mental wellness services, including:

  • Free mental health therapy sessions and workshops that offer resources and tools for female students experiencing stress, anxiety or feelings of hopelessness.
  • Hangout spaces for students to talk with peers and find community with others.
  • Programs such as African dance, yoga, meditation, art and drama therapy, nutrition and more taught by certified practitioners.
  • Quiet spaces to rest and reset from daily stressors.

“Hampton University is proud to be a recipient of the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation’s Wellness Pods,” said Kristie Norwood, PhD, director of the HU Student Counseling Center. “One out of five adults are affected by mental health diagnoses, and 39% of college students experience a significant mental health issue. It is our mission, at the HU Student Counseling Center, to help normalize therapy within the Black community and to educate our students on the importance of self-care and mental health awareness.”

Founded in 2018, BLHF aims to eliminate mental health stigma in the Black community. To that end, the foundation teamed up with Kate Spade New York, which similarly aims to destigmatize mental health while empowering women. The “She Care Wellness Pods” expansion hopes to reach 25,000 Black women on HBCU campuses.

“At Kate Spade New York, we believe that mental health is foundational to women’s empowerment and recognize that it has long been underacknowledged, underfunded and stigmatized,” said Kate Spade New York CEO and brand president Liz Fraser. “By offering space and resources dedicated to mental health, together we can create a positive difference for young women on HBCU campuses and in their communities.”

To learn more about Henson’s work as a mental health advocate, read "Taraji P. Henson Activates a Campaign to Help Black Students," Taraji P. Henson to Host Mental Health Show for Facebook” and “Taraji P. Henson Talks Mental Health and Healing.”

To read more, click #Mental Health. There, you’ll find headlines such as “Communities of Color Hit Hardest by Depression,” “NIH Grant to Address Social Media Impact on Black Women” and “Physicians Increasingly Addressing Mental Health Concerns.”