BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WWLP)- Three high school Teens in western Massachusetts are starting community conversations about suicide and mental health awareness.

A pre-season basketball tournament took place at Belchertown High School Friday to raise awareness and funding for mental health support. The students hope that through events like these they can draw awareness to suicide prevention programs as well as other life saving resources.

The three Belchertown High School varsity boys basketball captains organized the event, which is sponsored by the Center for Human Development (CHD) and the Springfield Thunderbirds. Henry Audette, Ty Bogdanovich, and Tyler McDonald want to bring people together to support mental health awareness and suicide prevention and to bring funding to those causes.

“So we’re the three varsity captains and Belchertown high school some time ago one of our close friends took his life so we thought this would be a good way before basketball season starts to have a fundraiser but know importantly to raise awareness for the situation,” said Audette.

‘You’re Not Alone’ is aimed at being a fun way people can support mental health and suicide prevention, while also remembering the prevalence of suicide, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is with great pride that the Center for Human Development supports the You’re Not Alone basketball tournament. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and since the start of the COVID pandemic, hospital admissions have seen a sharp rise in admissions of people with suicidal thoughts or attempts—especially young people. This tournament makes a direct impact on this tragic problem by raising awareness and funding to address the important public health challenge of suicide prevention,” said CHD VP of Community Engagement Ben Craft.

If you or a loved one is seeking help call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 9-8-8. Also visit SAVE at Save.org, a nonprofit for those impacted by suicide.