Written by Hampton University
This fall, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF) and kate spade new york proudly announce the expansion of their joint program, the “She Care Wellness Pods”, which aims to reach over 25,000 Black women on HBCU campuses with frontline mental wellness care. After a successful inaugural launch at Alabama State University in April of this year, BLHF and kate spade are expanding the initiative to a second HBCU campus location, Hampton University in Virginia.
Through this groundbreaking program for HBCU students, BLHF and kate spade new york, in partnership with trusted Hampton University community resources, bring access to mental health facilities and resources directly to Black women on campus. The multifaceted program features the opening of “She Care Wellness Pods” – physical structures installed on campuses that offer a range of services, including:
- Free mental health therapy sessions for female students experiencing an exacerbation of stress, anxiety and hopelessness.
- Hangout spaces that allow students to connect with peers or avoid isolation and grief during the school year and vacation periods.
- Unique programming including yoga, meditation, art and drama therapy, African dance, nutrition and more, all provided by certified practitioners.
- Workshops that offer resources and tools for those who suffer with anxiety, sleep deprivation and insomnia.
- Quiet spaces for silence, rest 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 Black community. As a leading Black mental health advocacy group, BLHF provides competent therapy and integrated wellness resources. For kate spade new york, women’s empowerment has been at the forefront of the brand’s purpose for over a decade and remains a core pillar of the brand. This year, kate spade and the kate spade new york Foundation will invest $5 million in programming to further destigmatize the mental health conversation and continue to provide services to women and girls in need. By continuing to expand the “She Care Wellness Pods” initiative, the joint partnership aims to provide 25,000 Black women on HBCU college campuses with frontline mental healthcare.
“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. 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,” said BLHF Founder, Taraji P. Henson. “Black women, from a very young age, are taught to be strong and dismiss their own suffering, tending to the needs of family and community often at the expense of their own well-being. The She Care Wellness pods seek to change this narrative,” says BLHF Executive Director, Tracie Jade. “Our shared vision and partnership with kate spade new york has been vital in promoting conversations and offering support to students to take care of their mental health, starting with our successful launch of She Care Wellness pods at Alabama State University. We are proud to open our second installment at Hampton University this fall,” Henson stated.
“At kate spade new york, we believe that mental health is foundational to women’s empowerment, and recognize that it has long been under-acknowledged, underfunded, and stigmatized. We are committed to increasing accessibility of mental health resources to women and girls around the globe through our social impact work and trusted partners in this space,” said kate spade new york CEO and Brand President, Liz Fraser. “We are proud to expand our partnership with Taraji, Tracie and The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. 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.”
“The health and wellbeing of our Hampton University community is of the utmost importance,” Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams expressed. “We take a holistic approach to education and, as such, we are honored to partner with the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and kate spade new york on the She Care Wellness Pods, positioning our students with additional resources for mental wellness, helping to prioritize the importance of mental health within our communities.
“Hampton University is proud to be a recipient of the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation’s Wellness Pods,” said Kristie Norwood, Ph.D., director, 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. The Wellness Pods will be part of a multi-faceted approach to ensuring the health and wellness of our students.”
Each She Care Wellness Pod is designed to create an environment that stimulates joy, peace and serenity through intentional design and color selection. The mural is a reflection of each campuses’ unique identity, from the perspective of the student body. One student is selected by each campus leadership team to design the mural that is painted on the outside of the containers. The intention of the mural is to reflect the diversity of women and intersecting identities within the local study body.
“The piece I have created reflects the importance of watering yourself based upon what your body and mind need,” said Hampton University student and mural artist T’Kiyah Reeves. “As women, we must prioritize our wellness. We must treat our minds with the same love, care, compassion and grace we would give to a tangible seedling to support its growth into something beautiful.”
As a member of kate spade new york’s Social Impact Council, which was established in January 2022, Taraji P. Henson, has continued her work with the global lifestyle brand to increase mental health resources. Alongside other social impact members, including Sofia Wylie and Jazz Thorton and Latham Thomas and more, the cohort brings unique expertise and work hand-in-hand with kate spade to propel positive change, and encourage more conversation, education and research around the cause.
The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and kate spade new york will launch their second “She Care Wellness Pod” at Hampton University, a historically Black university in Hampton, Virginia. The on-campus mental health destination will officially open to Hampton University students on November 2, allowing the community to take advantage of increased mental health resources and access.