JMU softball player dies, Marshall softball player speaks out on mental health

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Tragic news from James Madison University, as one of their own passed away on Tuesday.

Sophomore softball catcher Lauren Bernett has died at age 20.

The university released a statement, which included contact information for counseling centers and crisis lines.

The softball community as a whole has been hit hard by this tragedy, and it shines a light on the importance of mental health once again.

Marshall senior gardener Grace Chelemen was especially affected and hopes she can be a voice for others who are also struggling.

“It felt different to me too because I’m good friends with another girl on the JMU softball team who is really good friends with Lauren,” Chelemen said. “So I didn’t know Lauren personally, but I have feelings for her through my friend and the softball community in general.

It definitely struck a nerve in my heart, because I understand what [she] Was feeling. Our sport is all mental, which I think people completely forget about as well. It’s so mental and you have to be mentally strong because our sport is a 70-80% failure. I mean it’s one against nine. Times get really, really tough, especially in the season and stuff. But yeah, it definitely hit a nerve.”

Chelemen went on to say how important it is to have people around you that you can lean on and feel comfortable being vulnerable. So you can get help when/if you need it.

You can watch our full, unedited interview above.

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