In The News

May Is Mental Health Month

May 1, 2020

We think about all of you everyday and hope you are staying safe, healthy, and happy during these times of physical distancing and stay at home orders. We miss traveling to schools to be with students and student-athletes but we have confidence that our Hilinski’s Hope trainings will start-up again soon.

In the meantime, H3H has been busy powering the “UNIT3D” podcast. A new resource for student-athletes, (and really it can help many of us) and how they can take care of their mental wellness during these times of uncertainty. We’re grateful to have Ole Miss Sports Psychologist Dr. Josie Nicholson host these podcasts and appreciate all the mental health professionals from universities all over the country who have joined in to lend their knowledge and passion for helping others and their mental wellness. You can find “UNIT3D” on our website, Spotify, iTunes, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. We’re honored that the NCAA Sports Science Institute has included “UNIT3D” as a resource on their website as well.

We have also recently partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and will be working with them to provide mental health support and education in high schools. NAMI is doing great work and we believe this partnership will continue to contribute to our efforts to effect change by bringing awareness to and reducing the stigma attached to mental illness.

May is a special month, for many reasons. May 10: Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, a zoom call won’t capture the same emotions as a hug and being physically with the person we call mom. Our wish is for all families to be with each other that day and if you can’t we hope all the memories of past Mother’s Days will carry you through. May 26: Tyler’s birthday. Ty would have turned 24. I can close my eyes and see him: a bit more handsome, thicker, and the same smile lines around his eyes, those would have grown too. We think Tyler would have been glued to the TV watching his friends get drafted or signed as free agents and probably hoping his name would have been called too.

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OPINION: Be proactive talking about your mental health

April 16, 2020

It is easy to try to take on mental health issues by yourself, but this isn’t the best way to go through life.

DANIELLE DENNEHY, Evergreen Columnist
April 8, 2020

In the last decade mental health has gone from a taboo to something heavily discussed in pop culture and the media. This rise in awareness for other people’s mental well-being has sparked a conversation about how we should handle the subject.

The important part of this conversation is distinguishing between one’s mental health and well being, and what would be considered a mental illness. For everyone there are things that may cause a shift in your mental well-being — something like an international pandemic maybe — but it is important to recognize that this probably won’t cause a long-term mental illness. The dip in mental health will eventually return to balance, though you may have been very anxious or depressed for a period and needed to practice better self care.

“There’s a difference between that mental toughness and struggling with your mental health,” Kym Hilinski, one of the founders of Hilinski’s Hope Foundation, said. “We just want all students to know that they are not weak if they ask for help, if they talk about their emotions. It takes strength to do that.”

The Hilinski’s Hope foundation strives to bring awareness to mental illnesses and destigmatize the conversation around mental health. A big part of their participation on college campuses is bringing the Step Up program to college sports teams. This program teaches players how to look out for changes in behavior from one another that may indicate a need for support. They also try to provide ways to start these conversations in a comfortable way.

Mental illnesses are a touchy subject, as for some this is the way they identify a long-term struggle with mental health problems. The way we initiate conversations about these topics can greatly affect the way someone else reacts to it. In this time of overarching anxiety and inherent reclusive behavior, it’s essential to have lighthearted check-ins with the people you care about regarding their — and your — mental well-being.

Curtis Cohen, the 2020 ASWSU President, made mental health a key element in his campaign. He said their platform for mental health support reform on campus centers around the introduction of a campaign partnered with the 7 Cups program. 7 Cups is an app and website committed to making change in the counseling industry by providing a more open form of communication and providing general training for peer to peer support.

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Hilinski’s Hope E:60 nominated for national sports Emmy

March 30, 2020

COLUMBIA, SC — ESPN’s Jen Lada’s E:60 with South Carolina quarterback Ryan Hilinski and his family in ‘Hilinski’s Hope’ has been nominated for a national Sports Emmy.

‘Hilinski’s Hope’ is one of five nominees for the category “Outstanding Short Sports Documentary.” Four of the five nominations are E:60’s.

“(I’m) excited and honored to have Hilinski’s Hope up for this,” wrote Ryan in a Twitter post about the announcement. “All for you TY.”

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Seeking Sanity Amidst Madness

March 30, 2020

Staying Mentally Healthy

This past week was marked on millions of calendars as the start of March Madness. Some make the pilgrimage to Las Vegas to watch 32 games in 48 hours, others travel alongside their alma mater to the stadium housing the hardwood classic, countless others fill out their brackets and tune in online while pretending to get some work done.

Every year, we watch for the story of the underdog who upsets Goliath, the underrated kid passed up by the big conferences enacting revenge, and the Cinderella team without a superstar who shuts down the next top draft pick. Amidst broken brackets, cut down nets, and tears of triumph and defeat, we get to feel part of the history these kids write as they fulfill the dreams they’ve been dreaming since they took their first steps.

What’s Next?

Transitions are always tough as the NCAA reminds us that the vast majority of collegiate athletes “go pro in something other than sports.” However, this year, many student athletes from high school to college played their last game without any fanfare or closure. In fact, they didn’t even know they were playing their last game. The sport they’ve played every day for their entire life that formed a critical part of their identity, is now over and they question, what’s next?

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Ryan Hilinski shares effort to help those in need

March 18, 2020

South Carolina QB Ryan Hilinski shares effort to help those in need during coronavirus outbreak

With spring football on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, South Carolina QB Ryan Hilinski has shifted his focus to helping others affected by the situation.

On Sunday, Hilinski shared that he is making “food bags for anyone that needs any help during this time.” He tweeted a photo of spare food he had gathered and told his Twitter followers that they could reach out via direct message to join the effort:

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The Day The World Stopped

January 28, 2020

The Day The World Stopped
January 16th of any year now will be a confusing and sad day for us. While we don’t feel much different any other day this date is particularly hard for one reason. It may be someone’s birthday or wedding anniversary, a proposal date or even some marking of an important milestone. For us, it will always be the day the world stopped. Our beautiful, talented, always smiling son Tyler ended his life on January 16th, 2018 without telling us why. Without mentioning he was struggling or asking for help. He left us that day and a tidal wave of destruction followed in his wake. But, in the times since he passed, we found that he also left us with his love and beautiful memories. Tyler, his brothers, our students, student-athletes, you and so many others have given us hope and help us push forward with Hilinski’s Hope.

We spent the beginning of January on a get-away with Kelly and Ryan, catching our breath and needed time together, remembering Tyler and learning how to smile and laugh again.

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