“Play for Paige” game raises awareness for mental health in honor of Paige Roessner

Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 8:59 PM CDT
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PENDER, Neb. (KTIV) -September is Suicide Prevention Month and a group of northeast Nebraska softball coaches and athletes are doing their part to raise awareness for the cause.

Monday night, they played in the second annual “Play for Paige” softball game.

It’s meant to remember Paige Roessner. She was a standout softball player for Omaha Skutt, who took her own life in 2022.

Paige Roessner was set up for success. On the outside, she was a standout softball player committed to play at the University of Sioux Falls. On the inside, Paige struggled every day.

“We didn’t think someone as successful as her, someone as motivated as her would have those demons, yet she did,” said Clay Haymart, the head coach for the NEN Vipers.

While Paige may have been from Omaha, news of her tragic passing shocked Nebraska’s tight-knit softball community.

“We just wanted to do something to honor both Paige’s memory and keep mental health awareness on the forefront of the conversation,” said Haymart.

Before the “Play for Paige” game, there was a message read that written by Paige’s mother. In that message Paige was described as an amazing daughter, friend, and teammate. It also talked outlined her battle with depression and anxiety. A battle that many face today, but a topic these coaches and athletes are trying to raise awareness for.

“I feel like anyone can make a difference if they try, and you never know something little you say walking through the halls ‘Hey, I like your outfit today,’ it could raise someone’s mood like that. I think it’s amazing that small town girls or small-town people can have such a big impact like the game we played last night,” said Taylar Vanderbrug, a player on the NEN Vipers.

The message from the game? It’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health you can call 9-8-8 for immediate help from the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.