You’ve heard the phrase “your health is your wealth” countless times, but how often are students attending HBCUs contacted by companies who genuinely encourage mental health education and provide support in ways that appeal to their interests?

Taraji P. Henson, the founder of The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, Tracie Jade Jenkins, Executive Director of BLHF and Kate Spade have stepped up to fill the need for accessible mental health resources on college campuses by creating physical “safe spaces” for Gen Z students called ‘She Care Wellness Pods.’

S.I. Container Builds, a woman-owned construction business dedicated to reusing shipping containers and utilizing renewable materials, developed the She Care Wellness Pods. Its architecture and as ethnic reflects and provoke feelings of joy, empowerment and rejuvenation.

“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, health care and the workplace,” Taraji P. Henson said. “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.’” 

“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 actualizing joy,” Tracie Jade continued.

‘She Care Wellness Pods,’ physical structures installed on campuses that offer a range of services, including:

  • Free virtual and in-person mental health therapy appointments for students suffering from tension, anxiety and depression
  • Rest pods to provide quiet and relief from everyday stressors
  • Certified practitioners offer self-regulation techniques such as yoga, meditation, art and sound and dance therapy
  • Psychotherapy sessions are held in “hangout spaces,” allowing students to interact with classmates and mental wellness experts to handle particular issues
  • Workshops and seminars on a range of student-requested topics

The new program will launch its first pod this spring on the Alabama State University campus, intending to expand to other historically Black colleges and universities and reach over 25,000 Black students.

“The stress of balancing college life, separation anxiety, relationship issues, and depression commonly occur on college campuses,” Dr. Joyce Loyd-Davis, Alabama State University Sr. Director of Health Services, said. “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.”

For more information on mental wellness pods coming to your campus or personal and community resources, visit Boris L. Henson Foundation on Instagram.