With a shared goal of destigmatizing the mental health conversation in the Black community, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and kate spade new york launch a multi-year initiative, beginning at Alabama State University this spring.
NEW YORK, NY (April 5, 2023) – This Spring, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF) and kate spade new york are teaming up to create more accessible mental health resources for women and girls, and together are announcing the launch of ‘She Care Wellness Pods,’ a new program that aims to reach over 25,000 Black women on HBCU campuses with frontline mental wellness care.
This first-of-its kind program was concepted by actor, filmmaker and founder of The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, Taraji P. Henson, and Tracie Jade Jenkins, Executive Director of The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. In partnership with trusted community resources, the program will take a multifaceted approach through the opening of ‘She Care Wellness Pods,’ physical structures installed on campuses that offer a range of services, including:
- Free mental health virtual and in-person therapy sessions for women students experiencing an exacerbation of stress, anxiety and depression.
- Hangout spaces will provide psychoeducation sessions that allow students to connect with peers and mental wellness professionals to address students’ specific challenges.
- Self-regulatory practices including yoga, meditation, art, sound and dance therapy, all provided by certified practitioners.
- Workshops and seminars on a variety of student requested topics.
- Rest pods for silence and respite, to reset from daily stressors.
Founded in 2018, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation’s mission is to eradicate the stigma around mental health in the African American community. As the U.S.’s pioneering Black mental health advocacy group, BLHF provides access to localized and culturally competent therapy and integrated wellness resources through a network of clinicians, practitioners, counselors, and thought leaders. ‘She Care Wellness Pods’ is a part of BLHF’s broader initiative, ‘Meeting You Where You Are,’ offering hassle-free access to mental health resources in traditional and non-traditional spaces where African-Americans convene. The initiative also includes ‘He Care’ and ‘They Care Pods.’
Women’s empowerment has been at the forefront of kate spade new york’s social impact work for over a decade and is a core pillar of the brand. Over the last ten years, kate spade new york and its Foundation have invested $25M in women’s mental health and empowerment partnerships. This year alone, kate spade will invest over $5M dollars to help destigmatize the mental health conversation and provide access to resources for women and girls globally.
“Tracie and I grew up in a community where women were expected to store the pain and struggles of inequities and disparities faced daily in education, healthcare, and the workplace. We believed that mental health was a commodity for the rich and those who didn’t look like us. We are grateful for this partnership with kate spade new york. Together, we are changing the narrative and charting a new course for women who are experiencing the ‘Strong Black Woman Syndrome,” says Taraji P. Henson. Tracie Jade continued, “In this revolutionary endeavor, Black women on HBCU campuses will be afforded the opportunity of empowerment through the modality of self-regulation experiences. Soon they will enter a world, essentially not designed to support them. A world where the value of women and women’s rights are still being challenged. This is a space for respite, preparation, and for actualizing joy.”
“Our social impact mission is to empower women and girls across the globe by putting mental health at the heart of our approach. Women and girls’ mental health has long been underfunded, undervalued and under-acknowledged, and we are so proud of our partnership with Taraji, Tracie and The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, an organization that shares our commitment to providing mental health resources to communities that need it the most,” says kate spade new york CEO and Brand President, Liz Fraser.
Fraser continued, “Over the past 10 years, we have seen firsthand how interconnected a woman’s positive mental health is to her empowerment, and as we kick off our 30th anniversary this year, we’re doubling down on our commitment to reach more women and girls with direct access to resources and support. Through our partnership, we’ll work with the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation to provide accessible resources to over 25,000 young women across HBCU campuses through the She Care program and make a tangible difference in their everyday lives.”
“The Alabama State University Family is honored and humbled to be selected as the first ever HBCU to partner with two amazing advocates of mental health and wellness such as the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and kate spade new york,” says Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Alabama State University President. “ASU is synonymous with innovation and history making, working alongside our partners enables us to fulfill our commitment to what we deem as “Communiversity” which allows us to impact not only our campus, but also the broader community by advocating and raising the level of awareness regarding the absolute importance of mental health and wellness.”
“The stress of balancing college life, separation anxiety, relationship issues and depression commonly occur on college campuses,” says Dr. Joyce Loyd-Davis, Alabama State University Sr. Director of Health Services. “The She Care Wellness pods will be impactful for helping students cope with these issues and focus on a healthy mental well-being, ultimately restoring JOY.”
The She Care initiative is a continuation of Henson’s work with the kate spade brand, having served as a member of kate spade new york’s Social Impact Council since its inception in January 2022. Alongside Henson, the Social Impact Council includes women’s empowerment and mental health leaders from around the globe such as Jazz Thornton, Latham Thomas, Elisha London and more, who bring unique expertise and work hand-in-hand with kate spade to propel positive change, and encourage more conversation, education and research around the cause.
Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and kate spade new york will launch their first ‘She Care Wellness Pod’ at Alabama State University, a public historically Black university in Montgomery, Alabama. The She Care initiative will officially launch in April 2023, ultimately rolling out to additional HBCU campuses.
The She Care Wellness Pods were built by S.I. Container Builds, a woman-owned modular construction company that specializes in repurposing shipping containers and building with sustainable materials. The She Care Wellness Pods were designed by Saudah Saleem Interiors in collaboration with Kiyonda Powell Design Studio. The design of the She Care Wellness Pods embodies and evokes a sense of joy and empowerment, serving as a haven and place of renewal.
About Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation:
Founded in 2018, BLHF has built its reputation on providing trusted referrals and demonstrating a deep understanding of the population health of communities of Color. Through timely and relevant programming and awareness campaigns, BLHF encourages mental wellness, raises awareness of the stigma and the use of stigmatizing language when referring to mental illness, and provides mental health resources to the Black community.
The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is charting a new course that encourages Black individuals to own their history, heritage, and collective wounds in empowering, empathic, and transformative ways.
For more information, visit https://borislhensonfoundation.org/.
About kate spade new york:
Since its launch in 1993 with a collection of six essential handbags, Kate Spade New York has always stood for color, wit, optimism, and femininity. Today, it is a global lifestyle brand synonymous with joy, delivering seasonal collections of handbags, ready-to-wear, jewelry, footwear, gifts, home décor and more. Known for its rich heritage and unique brand DNA, Kate Spade New York offers a distinctive point of view, and celebrates communities of women around the globe who live their perfectly imperfect lifestyles. Kate Spade New York is part of the Tapestry house of brands.
About Alabama State University:
Alabama State University is a public historically black college and university based in Montgomery, Alabama. Founded in 1867, Alabama State University has a history of legacy of perseverance, progress and promise, and a keen focus on developing history makers through its 63 degree programs. Alabama State University Health Services is a full service onsite health clinic meeting the needs of the student population. The clinic manages acute and chronic conditions and referrals are made appropriately to specialists as needed. The health center also treats mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. They work closely with the campus Counseling Center to meet the challenges students face related to stress, anxiety and depression. The staff of healthcare professionals are committed to exceptional customer service that cultivates a healthy community to live, work, and learn.
About S.I. Container Builds:
The She Care Wellness Pods were built by S.I. Container Builds, a woman-owned modular construction company that specializes in repurposing shipping containers and building with sustainable materials. The company’s mission is to make a positive impact on the health and living conditions of our community and the wellness of our planet.