Morgan’s Message brings mental health to the field

“With Mental Health Awareness Month coming up, Torrey Pines girls varsity lacrosse is dedicating today’s game to the life and legacy of Morgan Rodgers, a former Duke University lacrosse student-athlete who died tragically in July 2019 after battling mental health struggles.”

This message echoed from the Ed Burke Field press booth on April 20, inaugurating the TPHS girls lacrosse team’s second annual Morgan’s Message dedication game.

“I think it’s making a difference because people are starting to talk about mental health more,” Camille Samarasinghe (12), TPHS Morgan’s Message ambassador and president of the TPHS Morgan’s Message club, said. “Overall, that’s what Morgan’s Message is trying to do, to start the conversation.”

Since the nonprofit organization’s founding in July 2020, Morgan’s Message has worked to start the conversation about mental health in athletics. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suicide is the second most common cause of death among NCAA athletes, just behind accidents.

“[Rodgers was] someone you wanted to be around, [always] hyping up her teammates,” Clare Kehoe, co-founder and vice president of Morgan’s Message, said. 

Kehoe grew up with Rodgers, playing club lacrosse with her and then attending Duke alongside Rodgers.

“But I think Morgan — throughout [her] whole story — just struggled to open up about the extent of what she was going through,” Kehoe said.

After losing Rodgers, Kehoe, along with family members, teammates and friends of Rodgers, decided to take action.

“There’s definitely more Morgans out there. And we really believe that if Morgan had seen and known that there were other people like her that were going through something, she might have been more comfortable opening up with what was going on,” Kehoe said. “And so we came up with the idea for Morgan’s Message in the Rodgers’ backyard.”

Now, as director of the Morgan’s Message Education Program, Kehoe works to bring the organization to schools, teams and athletes nationwide.

“[I saw them] at a bunch of lacrosse tournaments,” Samarasinghe said. “I was really interested in it because I thought it was such a cool concept. I reached out to them, became an ambassador for them and brought it to TPHS.”

Currently, Morgan’s Message works with over 5,000 students across 1,600 college and high school campuses.

“At TPHS, we often are so focused on the winning and the competition — which I love,” Audrey Davidson (11), TPHS girls lacrosse player, flag football player and member of the TPHS Morgan’s Message club, said. “But you forget about mental health and finding the balance between school and sports.”

Davidson will be taking over Samarasinghe’s duties as the TPHS Morgan’s Message club president next school year.

“[We’re] hoping that we can help one person,” Samarasinghe said. “That’s the goal, to help little by little by little until it’s not a thing anymore. Mental health [problems] will always be a thing, but not talking about it and struggling in silence, that’s the thing.”

Before the first whistle, the TPHS girls lacrosse team stood alongside their competition from Anderson High School with blue ribbons in their hair to represent Morgan’s Message. 

“For more information on Morgan’s life and legacy and how you can help those with mental health struggles, please visit,” the announcer said. “Ladies and gentlemen, remove your hats for a moment of silence in remembrance of Morgan Rodgers.”

Previous post Ruby Julien-Newsom transcends categories on the mat
Next post Making waves