Morgan’s message: “High school athletes are working to raise awareness about mental health

Salem, Va. – As Suicide Prevention Month continues, students in our area are working to end the stigma surrounding mental health.

Morgan Rodgers was a lacrosse player at Duke University when she committed suicide. Her parents created Morgan’s Message after she died.

“The primary purpose is to expand stories, resources and expertise to confront student-athlete mental health,” said Salem High School senior Reese Redford.

After hearing Morgan’s story and facing her own mental health struggles, Redford decided she wanted to get involved.

“Mental health is something that not only I struggle with, but also a lot of my teammates and friends,” Redford said.

Redford plays volleyball and lacrosse and knows all too well the pressure that student athletes face.

“I’m really excited to create a community by and for athletes who are truly supportive of one another and breaking down the barriers of mental health,” said Redford.

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Redford became an ambassador for Morgan’s Message and decided to start a mental health chapter in her own school.

“It was something with a lot of stigma,” Redford said. “It’s something that hasn’t been talked about and has been hidden in a way, but now that we’re bringing it here, more and more people are learning that it’s okay not to be okay.”

Hidden Valley student Abby Crosser decided to become an ambassador after hearing about Redford’s efforts to end the stigma surrounding mental health.

“Morgan’s Message attempts to host two club events per semester,” Crosser said. “I hope to work with other girls who are younger than me to keep this going at our school for the next few years.”

The girls teamed up for Tuesday’s volleyball game between the two schools. Proceeds go to Morgan’s Message.

“I know personally that it’s not talked about enough across the academic and mental health field,” Crosser said.

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“When we come together, we can understand that we are more than just athletes and people who are more than just our sport,” Redford said.

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