VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) – This week 123 colleges across the country, including the University of South Dakota, will recognize College Football Mental Health Week.

The colleges are working in partnership with Hilinksi’s Hope, a foundation that honors the legacy of Tyler Hilinski, a Washington State quarterback who died by suicide in 2018.

The green ribbon on the back of the Coyotes’ football helmets may seem small, but it has a big meaning — honoring Tyler Hilinski and raising awareness for mental health.

“Hilinski’s Hope means a lot to me and this team just for the fact that there has been a lot of mental health stigma that has been coming to the forefront, even with athletics. And I feel like that is something that needs to be brought attention more and more,” Brendan Webb, a USD football player, said.

Oftentimes, the mental health of college football players goes unchecked. USD wants to tackle that issue.

“Unfortunately, college athletes, particularly college football players, don’t see asking for help as part of their persona. And what we’re trying to do, by raising awareness, is recognizing that, hey, these issues do occur and when they do occur, asking for help is an important part of the process,” Bob Nielson, USD head football coach, said.

“These people have a name, these people have an image, these people are more than football and I feel like we need to put more attention to that,” Webb said.

Brendan Webb is a defensive lineman for the Coyotes. He’s also Chapter President of the Lost & Found Association at USD, an organization centered around suicide prevention and mental health support. Webb says he’s seen stigma lessen on campus even from just four years ago when he arrived in Vermillion.

“It gives me a lot of hope that one day athletes are actually allowed to talk about their mental health and truly express how they feel,” Webb said.

The Coyotes will be wearing the green ribbon decals during their game against SDSU this weekend. They’ll also be holding up the number three at the beginning of the third quarter. Three was Tyler Hilinski’s number at Washington State University.