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Morgan’s Message Campaign Club advocates for mental health

Bailey Kreszswick / The SPOKE
Donating for a cause: Juniors Lexi Patterson (left) and Mukti Patel (right) run a bake sale for a fundraiser for Morgan’s Message Campaign Club. Proceeds went toward a nonprofit that works to ensure that student athletes treat their mental and physical health equally.

By Hannah Simon, Co-Copy Editor

Established in honor of late Duke University lacrosse player Morgan Rodgers by her family and former teammates, Morgan’s Message, a nonprofit, works to ensure that mental health is treated equally to physical health for all student-athletes.

Taking on that mission, the Morgan’s Message Campaign Club at Conestoga aims to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. It also wishes to normalize conversations about mental health for athletes.

“I think it’s important because that’s the other side of playing sports. You have that physical aspect and then you have the mental side, which is also such a big component,” said junior and Morgan’s Message Campaign club president Lexi Patterson. “I think bringing awareness to more positive mental health and how to combat negative mental health is important.”

After the club’s first meeting this year, Patterson surveyed club members to see what they were interested in learning about. As a student-athlete herself — a member of the varsity field hockey team and a University of Michigan commit — Patterson understands the difficulty in finding the balance between schoolwork and sports and how important spreading awareness is.

“I think for me it’s just playing with the extra pressure every game,” Patterson said. “Like who’s watching, who’s not watching? If I make a mistake, how do I come back from that?”

This year, the field hockey team dedicated its Sept. 21 white-out game against Garnet Valley High School to Morgan’s Message. The night consisted of a prepared speech and white-out shirts with the Morgan’s Message emblem on the back that players and fans wore to show their support.

Moving forward, Patterson and the club hope to hold more Morgan’s Message games through other sports, as well as invite Conestoga’s mental health specialists to speak at club meetings.

“Athlete mental health is important because everyone’s mental health is important,” said club adviser and field hockey coach Karen Gateley. “Athletics can sometimes put extra stress on student athletes, and we as coaches should just remember that.”

Gately and Patterson want to remind students and student-athletes that Conestoga has counselors and mental health specialists available to support students that face mental health challenges, and to help connect families with mental health providers.

The Tredyffrin/Easttown School District uses the Acknowledge, Care, Tell approach to guide students if they have any concerns about themselves or others. Safe2Say Something, a statewide anonymous reporting system, is also open to students and adults to submit anonymous tips related to individuals who may be at risk.

“I think there’s been a lot (done) here at Conestoga in an effort to kind of address wellness in the last couple of years,” Gately said. “It’s really nice to see, and I think this club kind of aligns with that mission of addressing and acknowledging students’ wellness needs.”

Hannah Simon can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Hannah Simon, Co-Copy Editor
Hannah Simon is a junior and the Co-Copy Editor of The Spoke. As Co-Copy Editor, she edits print and web articles, ensuring that they follow the Associated Press' guidelines. She previously served as the Co-Sports Editor. Hannah covers everything from sports games to new clubs, but most enjoys reporting on the people of the community in any capacity. Outside of The Spoke, Hannah is a member of the girls' varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams, and recently committed to Northeastern University to continue her field hockey and academic career.