CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA)- Tyler Hilinski was always smiling, was everyone’s friend, and lit up every room he entered.
“He was so good and so kind, and I do think that he just didn’t want to burden anybody with his troubles which is so silly,” his mom, Kym Hilinski said.
That’s why, for his parents, it was such a shock when he died by suicide in 2018.
“If you have cancer you go to an oncologist, if you have a broken bone you go to an orthopedist,” said his father, Mark Hilinski. “If you have terrifying, difficult, disturbing thoughts, it’s really important to talk to someone that can help you through it.”
However, through their son’s death, they started the non-profit organization, Hilinski’s Hope.
“Just because they look like everything is going well, doesn’t mean it is underneath,” Mark Hilinski said.
They travel to different colleges, spreading awareness about mental health stigmas in sports.
Tuesday, they were in Clemson, talking to the men’s basketball and football teams, and encouraging athletes to tell someone if they’re struggling mentally.
“A lot of them try to be perfect in their sport and they have so much on their shoulders that they’re just afraid to appear weak if they reach out and ask for help, but we stress that asking for help is actually a strength, it takes a lot of strength to do that,” Kim Hilinski said. “Our student athletes need to know that they’re appreciated.”
The Hilinskis will also be speaking to student athletes tomorrow, but each session is closed to the public.