Hilinski’s Hope Foundation rebrands mental health week
The Hilinski’s Hope Foundation introduced Thursday it has modified “College Football Mental Health Week” to “Student Athlete Mental Health Week,” a rebranding founders Mark and Kym Hilinski imagine higher serves their message: prioritizing mental health for all collegiate athletes.
The Hilinskis created their basis in 2018 after their son, Tyler, a quarterback for Washington State, died by suicide. As a part of their efforts, they started “College Football Mental Health Week,” initially reaching out to soccer packages to assist increase consciousness and erase stigmas surrounding mental health, as a result of that’s the sport their sons performed.
But after chatting with athletic departments throughout the nation over the previous a number of years, they began to get the identical query: Do we now have to play soccer to take part?
“We’ve always been inclusive of all the student-athletes out there,” Kym Hilinski advised ESPN. “But some of the schools that didn’t have a football program said, ‘We want to be involved, too,’ and we said sometimes just that name could maybe be a deterrent for a school reaching out, and we didn’t want that to happen at all. We didn’t want our student-athletes, the coaches, the ADs to think that our week and what we were putting together was not about all the student-athletes.”
Now headed into Year 4, Student Athlete Mental Health Week initiatives shall be featured Oct. 1-7, culminating on World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10. Those initiatives embody collaborating in Hilinski’s Hope’s on-line mental health course to assist scale back the stigma surrounding in search of assist, collaborating in social media campaigns, assessing how collaborating faculties and universities are following finest practices with their mental health packages, and internet hosting talks and trainings on campus for gamers, coaches, and employees — all whereas honoring Tyler’s legacy.
Last 12 months, 125 collegiate packages participated in initiatives throughout this particular week. The Hilinskis mentioned colleges additionally created their very own programming, together with bringing in remedy canines, further audio system or creating team-specific occasions.
“It evolved on these campuses, which is the whole point — to make it more comfortable to talk about,” Mark Hilinski mentioned. “We don’t want anybody to feel they can’t participate. When you sit down and think about it, we’re trying to save the next Tyler. So whether that’s 135 schools next year or 235 schools, the if we can get to that person and let them know that it’s OK to ask for help, then we’ve accomplished something.”
While the Hilinskis know there stays a lot work to be achieved to assist increase consciousness, one among their short-term targets is to have colleges in all 50 states take part throughout their specifically designated week.
“Mark and I aren’t mental health professionals. We partner with some great ones. We respect what they do,” Kym Hilinski mentioned. “Our job as we see it is to just clear that path for the student athletes so that they’re able to reach out and ask for help. If this week is something that makes it a little bit easier for them because they’re all focusing on their mental health, that’s what we’re trying to do. Taking care of your mental health should never be a burden. It’s your health.”