Mental awareness for student-athletes has become very important over the past couple of years. Recents effects such as anxiety, suicide and depression have been affecting athletes. These are just tidbits of what many athletes deal with on a daily basis. For these reasons, many organizations have dedicated themselves to promoting mental awareness for student athletes and here at VWU, we are part of a larger organization called Morgan’s Message.
“Morgan’s Message was started near my hometown in Northern Virginia, and Morgan Rodgers played with my cousin and coached my sister. After seeing a post on Instagram about the organization and how they were going to have campus ambassadors, I applied to be an ambassador and bring this to our campus,” senior Mackenzie Kerns said.
Kerns is a defender for the Women’s Soccer team and along with her teammate Kennedi Anders, the organization was introduced in the 2020-2021 school year during COVID-19. Also, other people that made this possible were, Women’s Soccer Head Coach Jeff Bowers, and Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Nicole DeSalvia who partnered with Virginia Wesleyan SAAC and the VWU athletic department.
Since the introduction, they have held meetings over Zoom and in person with guest speakers to discuss student-athlete mental health. “Morgan’s Message is a mental health organization aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding mental health in student-athletes. This organization was created to open conversation about mental health and give student-athletes the opportunity to spread awareness,” Kerns and Anders said in a joint email statement.
The first dedication week was Sept. 18 through Sept. 25. The teams that participated in these events were Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, Field Hockey and Volleyball. “Each team before the start of their games, made an announcement talking about the organization as well as had a table at the entrance of the stadium, field, or arena,” Kerns said.
However, Morgan’s Message is not something that is planned to only happen once, as one of the coordinators expressed that she wants to emphasize the importance of mental health and how important this message is for all college athletes.
“We want everyone to know that mental health is just as important as physical health, and no one is alone through their battles,” Kerns said. She also added, “Although both of us are graduating this spring, we have heard from several people who want to keep the organization on campus. We would love to see Morgan’s Message grow and have a larger impact on our campus. We look forward to holding future events and increasing awareness and conversation.” Students can visit @vwumorgansmessage on instagram to learn more about this organization or visit morgansmessage.org.
By Shirell Washington and Steven Serrano