Taraji P. Henson has launched a campaign – The Unspoken Curriculum – to help Black students fight mental health struggles and racism.
The Empire star created the campaign in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. The initiative will help Black students identify signs of trauma and empower them to seek guidance.
According to PEOPLE, The Unspoken Curriculum is a six-week program that will run from May 17 until June 21. It will include discussions with mental health experts, therapists and educators where students can speak openly about their experiences in school. Henson helped create the curriculum through The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, her mental health nonprofit, and public relations firm Edelman.
Henson says while working as a substitute teacher she witnessed firsthand how socio-economic barriers had a detrimental effect on the mental health of Black youth. “I taught a special education class, but all of the students were Black boys who had all of their mental and physical capabilities. These children came from traumatic home situations, and the school labeled them ‘special ed,’” she said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “We’re in a state of emergency right now. But it takes us to change it… we can’t hide the ugly, you’ve got to deal with the good and the bad if we want to see change.”
Initiatives addressing mental health issues in Black America are needed, as according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Offices of Minority Health, in 2019 suicide was the second leading cause of death for African Americans between the ages of 15 and 24.
“We need more professionals in education to recognize children dealing with trauma and help them, not criminalize them,” said Henson.
The program kicked off on May 17 and will run through June 21.
NEWS/PHOTO SOURCE: People | NewsOne | News Agencies