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UMass Lowell lacrosse player dedicates herself to helping athletes with their mental health

UMass Lowell lacrosse player dedicated to helping athletes nurture their mental health
UMass Lowell lacrosse player dedicated to helping athletes nurture their mental health 03:29

LOWELL - A fifth-year player on the UMass Lowell women's lacrosse team who is trying to lead the team to the NCAA playoffs for the first time in team history, while also being passionate about helping athletes nurture their mental health.

Hard-working and caring on and off the field

"Caroline is first one in, last one to leave, just hard-working, cares about her teammates, cares about the university, she's the perfect student athlete," said head coach Lisa Miller. "She's very good, stubborn as all get out. She's a defender, I think she anchors that unit, she's a communicator."

"We protect our house, we protect our people. And we're definitely the more empathetic and caring people and I think that shows in my personality as well," said fifth-year player Caroline Klim.

Last year, Klim earned her nursing degree and became a registered nurse. She's now working to obtain her masters degree in public health.

"The ability to be well-rounded in a profession like nursing where I'm not only focusing on treating the patient but also looking at their social determinants of health. I'm not just treating them and sending them home," said Klim.

Klim is also passionate about mental health, especially when it pertains to athletes. She's the founder and now chapter president of UMass Lowell's Morgan's Message program. The organization's mission is to help student athletes with mental health. It was named after Morgan Rodgers, a Duke lacrosse player who died by suicide in 2019.

Helping student athletes speak up about mental health

"As a student athlete, I think the narrative in years past has been if you're struggling with something mentally, you're viewed as weak," said Klim. "And that's what Morgan's Message is trying to work against, like, equalizing the treatment of mental and physical health. We just wanted to create an environment where student athletes felt that they could speak up and felt like they could get help."

Morgan's Message is having success with athletes at UMass Lowell and Klim is the person they can lean on.

"Caroline is a role model," said UMass Lowell athlete Shaeaya Smith, who uses Morgan's Message as a resource and takes full advantage of speaking with Klim when looking for some counsel. "I was interested in joining Morgan's Message as an ambassador, which I am now. But before, I was a bit hesitant because I was like, I don't know if I can help people. And she helped me realize that you can help and everyone can help in different ways."

"All it takes is just checking in," said Klim. "And just one conversation with someone and just you can keep encouraging and encouraging and being a little pushy is not a bad thing. So just being a little pushy and once you plant the seed someone will eventually use it and that may save a life."

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