Who is the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation?

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 2018 by Taraji P. Henson and led by Executive Director, Tracie Jade Jenkins. The foundation is named in honor of Ms. Henson’s father, Boris Lawrence Henson, who suffered with mental health challenges as a result of his tour of duty in the Vietnam War.

What does the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation do?

We are committed to changing the perception of mental illness in the African American community by encouraging those who suffer with this debilitating illness to get the help they need. Through our partnerships, the foundation will ensure cultural competence in caring for African Americans who struggle with mental illness by providing scholarships to African-American students who seek a career in the mental health field; offer mental health services and programs to young people in urban schools; and combat recidivism within the prison system.

Who does the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation serve?

We partner with other nonprofit organizations who offer programs that educate, celebrate, and make visible the positive impact of mental health wellness.

What is “Silence Isn’t Treatment?”

Through the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, the Silence Isn’t Treatment Program will equip Black men, ages 18-45, with unique tools and information to combat daily stressors, by connecting them with culturally competent mental health professionals for up to five free virtual therapy sessions. Each male selected for the free therapy sessions is encouraged to become a mental health change agent. By one male simply sharing and discussing his experience with other black men, he creates a safe space for another man to step into. Silence Isn’t Treatment aims to combat the stigma associated with managing stress, anxiety, and depression for Black men, particularly during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and the fight for racial justice.

What prompted the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation to create “Silence Isn’t Treatment?”

One in five Americans suffer from mental illness. African Americans are the least likely population to seek treatment. We were taught to hold our problems close to the vest out of fear of being labeled and further demonized as inapt, weak, and/or inadequate. African Americans also have a history of being misdiagnosed, so there is mistrust associated with therapy.

COVID-19 and the social unrest that continues in response to racial disparities have had a profound and unprecedented impact on all of our daily lives. Social distancing, unemployment, and sudden loss are all drastic changes that can bring, what feels like, unbearable stress and anxiety into anyone’s life. Given the life-changing events related to or triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism, many are suffering in silence and isolation. BLHF recognizes that during this difficult time, affording the cost of mental health services can also be a barrier to care in the Black community and seeks to eradicate the stigma around mental health by launching programs like Silence Isn’t Treatment, to raise money for mental health services provided by licensed clinicians in our network.

Do I need insurance to enroll?

If you have insurance, use it! You do not need insurance to enroll for the five free virtual therapy sessions. We recognize the pre-authorization process may take time. You may need insurance to continue therapy following the five sessions covered by the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation.

Who is eligible to receive “Silence Isn’t Treatment” services?

All Black men are encouraged to register. Free therapy sessions will be available for 100 Black men, ages 18-45 regardless of their health insurance status. 

How do I enroll to seek treatment? Is there an application process?

Registration will be open on BLHF’s website from September 23-October 1, 2020, or until 100 men are enrolled. Silence Isn’t Treatment sessions will officially begin after October 1, 2020. Applicants will be notified within 48-72 hours if their application has been accepted.

How many sessions will I receive?

Each participant will receive five (5) free virtual therapy sessions.

What happens when I’ve completed my five sessions and want to continue treatment?

,p style=”font-family:’Montserrat'”>Participants can talk with their therapists about how to continue with paid sessions covered by insurance or through another arrangement. The specifics of this are up to the therapist and participant.

How can I support without enrolling in treatment?

If you’d like to support mental health and wellness in the Black community through the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, text NOSTIGMA to 707070.

Who are the therapists? 

The providers in the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation network are educated and licensed mental health care professionals with cultural competence and a range of experience.

Can I request a specific care provider?

Yes. Registrants can select any provider participating in the campaign from our Resource Guide. We strongly encourage all participants to research a provider in which you would feel comfortable connecting.

I’m a licensed independent mental health provider. How do I sign up?

This program is tailored and exclusive to our Resource Guide members. You must become a subscribing member of the resource guide and complete our Provider services availability agreement.