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Breaking the record & stigma: an effort to raise awareness about mental health

Posted at 5:10 PM, Aug 11, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — More than 20 high school and college students across Western New York have come together to raise awareness about mental health, and try to break a world record for the world's longest basketball game.

It's an effort to keep the conversation going when it comes to mental health among teens, and work to erase the stigma.

When people come out and talk about mental health, it tells people to - maybe I should go get help. Maybe I should go talk to someone about this, and I think that's super important," said Nick Amodio, who is taking part in the World’s Longest Basketball Game.

The five-day long game started last Friday at Nardin Academy.

The founder of the event is Canisius High School alumni Nick Revelas, who started putting on basketball games for charity six years ago.

But it took on a deeper meaning in 2017 when nick's friend, Devin Waring, died from suicide.

“It’s important to realize that it is okay not to be okay, that people are not alone,” said Revelas.

"My brother started this whole event, it's definitely a family affair. So when he had this big idea, I of course said I would play," said his sister Savannah Revelas.

Executive Director of the Mental Health Advocates of WNY Melinda DuBois said it's important for teenagers to talk about and normalize mental health.

"What happens a lot when young people is the things that they're struggling with internally, if they're not able to talk about it with a trusted person, they keep those things inside," she said. "And that makes it worse for them, or if they feel like they're he only ones struggling."

The money raised goes to mental health services in WNY. So far they've raised more than $75,000.

"I hope that people learn that it's okay to not be okay, and they're never alone and that there's always someone there that's going to listen and help them. And there's always something out there that will get them through it," said Savannah

The current world record is more than 120 hours.

Anyone going through a difficult time can get help by calling crisis services in Erie County at (716) 834-3131 or in Niagara County at (716) 285-3515.

You can also call Crisis Services at (716) 834-3131 or Horizon Health at (716) 831-1800.