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Taraji P. Henson hopes virtual therapy campaign helps underserved communities

April 21 (UPI) -- Taraji P. Henson hopes her new virtual therapy campaign helps people struggling in underserved communities.

The 49-year-old actress discussed her work with the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and the importance of mental health amid the coronavirus pandemic during Monday's at-home episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden.

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Henson and the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, the nonprofit Henson founded in 2018 to help combat the stigma surrounding mental illness in the black community, launched a campaign last week that offers five free therapy sessions to people in need during the pandemic.

"I was inclined to do something, because as you may or may not know, in the African-American community we don't deal with mental health," Henson said. "It's a generational thing that's been passed down to pray your problems away, or it makes you look weak, or when we do express ourselves somehow we're demonized for it."

"When this whole thing went down, I just thought about all the people who are isolated or suffering in isolation," she added. "I'm just thinking of those underserved communities where people, that's the last thing they're thinking about is how do I take care of my mental health."

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Data indicates that African-Americans are disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 virus, which Henson brought up during the interview.

"The numbers are alarming in the black community," the actress said. "We are being disproportionally affected by this COVID-19, and that is traumatizing. I'm just trying to do my part."

Henson and her foundation opened registration for the therapy sessions April 15.

"We want you to know that you are not alone, there is help on the other side of 'yes,'" the campaign wrote on Instagram. "We are all struggling to make it make sense and at times, just need someone to listen, to connect with, someone to offer tools to help slowly put the pieces back together."

Henson is known for playing Cookie Lyon on the Fox series Empire. The show will air its series finale Tuesday after cutting production on Season 6 short due to the pandemic.

"I just know what we filmed, and I don't know what kind of magic they're going to make. I'm sure it's going to be brilliant, because they are really good at what they do, but it's going to be movie magic in the editing room," Henson said of the finale on The Late Late Show.

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