DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The University of Dayton and CareSource held a town hall to spotlight mental health and suicide prevention.
The goal of Thursday’s event was to break down the stigma of mental health. It also gave a reminder to simply ask someone how they are doing. The event was held to honor Jayda Grant, daughter of UD men’s basketball head coach Anthony Grant. Jayda died in 2022, after struggling with a mental illness.
Tyler Hilinski was a quarterback for Washington State. He died by suicide in 2018.
His parents shared his story at UD by spotlighting some of the warning signs to look for.
“If you see that they’re not sleeping enough, that they’re sleeping too much, that they’re missing practice or missing class, if there’s a change in the way that they’re acting, ask them, ask them why,” said Kym Hilinski, Tyler’s mother.
Hilinski’s Hope is a non-profit foundation promoting awareness and education of mental health and wellness for student-athletes.
Hilinski told those listening at the event to check in on three people in their lives.
“At least once a week. Teammates find two guys, right, that you can check on and ask them how they’re doing right and really listen to their answer,” Hilinski said.
The town hall also provided answers for people looking for resources and where they can go when they or someone they know needs help.
“Really it typically takes about ten years for somebody to actually seek treatment. And we want to lower that number significantly. So we have a ton of resources here at the arena tonight. So people leave here knowing where to go, if they need support,” said Colleen Oakes, coalition manager, Montgomery County Prevention Coalition.
Oakes says hearing stories like the Hilinski’s and the grants go a long way to breaking the stigma.
UD was thrilled by the turnout and shared it was all about giving back to the community.
“You know, we think it’s important to be more than sports, more than education. We’re part of the community and we need to do our part. And so that’s how we look at it. As a catholic marinist school to be out in the community. We ask a lot of the community. So we need to give a lot back. And I think this is just one of those events that we’re able to do that,” said Neil Sullivan, vice president and director of athletics at UD.
The UD Men’s Basketball team will host Ohio State in an exhibition on Sunday to further shine the spotlight on mental health.