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 died by suicide. Her parents created ‘Morgan’s Message’ after she passed.
“It’s main purpose is to amplify stories, resources, and expertise to confront the mental health of student athletes,” Salem High School senior Reese Redford said.
After hearing Morgan’s story, and having her own mental health struggles, Redford decided that she wanted to get involved.
“Mental health is something that not only I, but also many of my fellow teammates and friends have also struggled with,” Redford said.
Redford plays volleyball and lacrosse and knows all too well the pressure put on student-athletes.
“I’m just most excited to create a community by and for athletes that really support each other and breaks down the barrier of mental health,” Redford said.
Redford became an ambassador for Morgan’s Message and decided to start a chapter in her own school to combat mental health.
“It’s been something with a huge stigma with it,” Redford said. “It’s something that has not been talked about and kinda hidden away, 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 around mental health.
“Morgan’s Message tries to do two club events a semester,” Crosser said. “I’m hoping to work with other girls who are younger than me to keep this going at our school for future years.”
The girls partnered together for Tuesday’s volleyball game between the two schools. The proceeds will go to Morgan’s Message.
“I know personally that it’s not talked about enough within the whole academic and mental health realm,” Crosser said.
“When we come together we can understand that we are more than just athletes and are people that are more than just our sport,” Redford said.