Taraji P. Henson Launches Mental Health Campaign for Black Students

Taraji P. Henson attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California.
Taraji P. Henson attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California.
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

On Monday, Empire and Hidden Figures star Taraji P. Henson announced the launch of a brand new campaign focused on lightening the mental health burden the educational system frequently places on Black students.

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Titled The Unspoken Curriculum, the six week-long campaign consists of videos, resources, and more dedicated to the betterment of Black students and their mental health. Per a press release sent to The Root, its aim is to “advocate for meaningful change in the classroom by rethinking and reforming the lessons Black students learn in school” as well as “inspire youth to feel confident and empowered to talk about their personal experiences in the classroom, protect their mental health, and seek support when they need it.”

“What is taught in the classroom can be very different from what is learned, and that disparity has detrimental effects on the growth and mindset of Black students,” Henson said in a statement. “With The Unspoken Curriculum we aim to create space to talk about the Black student experience, break the stigma that comes with talking about these real issues, and improve access to solutions. This is an opportunity for all of us to rethink the lessons Black students are learning in our education system.”

In addition to the video kicking off the campaign, The Unspoken Curriculum is also comprised of:

Experts, community leaders and influencers sharing their personal experiences in school and how those experiences affected their own mental health;

Unique, school-centered social media assets and promotion to invite people to look more deeply at the The Unspoken Curriculum;

A partnership with Snapchat to offer a customized Unspoken Curriculum filter to help youth, parents, educators, and others promote mental health discussions;

After School Hangout sessions for students to “hang out” and socialize virtually after school facilitated by licensed therapist(s) to talk openly about mental health and personal experiences with separate chat sessions for parents and teachers to advocate for mental health support for their youth.

A landing page with call-to-action resources, creative challenges, and assets, and more;

The Unspoken Curriculum falls under the umbrella of Henson’s Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, the nonprofit organization named in honor of her father to help combat stigmas surrounding African Americans and their mental health struggles. To learn more about The Unspoken Curriculum or The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation visit borislhensonfoundation.org/unspoken.

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