Ending the stigma: Hopewell High School joins Hilinski’s Hope in College Football Mental Health Week
Hopewell’s football team will don green ribbon decals on their helmets Friday night, and Tyler Hilinski’s message will be shared with the crowd at halftime.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Friday night, the Hopewell football team is hoping to make a statement with a big upset win over Chambers.
Off the field, these players and the athletic department hope to make an even bigger statement.
Hopewell has partnered with Hilinski’s Hope to participate in College Football Mental Health Week. Over 100 colleges around the country aim to destigmatize mental health issues among student-athletes, and the Titans are bringing that same initiative to the high school level.
“We try not to look at our athletes as just athletes,” head football coach Brandon Gentry said. “They’re students and human beings as well. Whenever we can get people, a community that’s surrounding them and supporting them, trying to help them be the best that they can be, that’s great.”
Hilinski’s Hope was founded by Mark and Kym Hilinski after their son Tyler tragically took his own life while playing football for Washington State in 2018. To honor his legacy, his parents started the non-profit to share his story and offer mental health resources and education to other college student athletes in need of help.
Local mental health advocate and Hopewell employee Fonda Bryant has crossed paths with the Hilinski on numerous occasions and decided that she wanted the Titans’ athletic department to share in the advocacy for student-athlete mental health this week.
“To say, ‘okay, we’re going to take a stand for mental health,’ I think it’s going to resonate with a lot of teams,” Bryant said.
Hopewell’s football team will don green ribbon decals on their helmets Friday night, and Tyler Hilinski’s message will be shared with the crowd at halftime. The hope is that by starting the conversation to normalize opening up about mental health, more student athletes at Hopewell and beyond will feel safe to admit they need help.
“Every team has players that are struggling,” Bryant said. “Let’s hope that it’s going to open up that conversation to say ‘Hey, I’m struggling. I need help. I’m going to get the help, and I’m going to be okay.’”
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