Harry Miller talks about the mental health journey
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Six months ago, Harry Miller decided to retire from playing football in Ohio State due to his mental health. But today he can still be found on the sidelines, encouraging his former teammates and inspiring everyone.
what you need to know
- Harry Miller retired from football in March on medical grounds after struggling with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts
- Miller’s story attracted national media attention
- Miller shared his story with the local community at the annual Faces of Resilience event
- Miller says sharing his story and talking to friends and family has been the biggest thing that has helped him
Miller was set for greatness on the football field with expectations of becoming captain and starter this season. But in March he opened up about his mental health and suicidal thoughts and decided to retire on medical grounds.
“The messages I was thinking in my head weren’t in a language I didn’t know, they were in plain English,” Miller said. “They were simple sentences. It was “Harry, you should kill yourself”, “Harry, nobody wants you here”, “Harry, you shouldn’t be here anymore”. I can think of them easily, I can say them easily and they are very easy to sneak up on me. So yes, every day is a win in itself.”
Miller has been spending time with the team this year, but this time on the sidelines.
“It feels good to be with my friends,” he said. “It feels good to see that my friends are doing well. So, it was good, it was good to be on the sidelines with my friends and my teammates and see everyone again.”
But his main priority was to share his story, as at the annual Faces of Resilience event.
“It was something I really care about,” Miller said. “I’m grateful that so many people are gathering in one place on this issue, putting energy into this issue, and taking this issue seriously.”
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is a mental health advocate and recently donated $1 million to the Ohio State Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health to establish a mental health fund. He says he’s proud of Miller and knows he fights every day.
“I was lucky enough to be the one who recruited him,” Day said. “We knew Harry was special, we knew he would have an impact on people. You never thought it would be like this and have such a huge impact on people at such a young age. He’s still in a fight, we know that. I am proud of what he has done and what he is doing.”
“I hadn’t imagined it that way either. But it’s amazing how perfectly everything can go wrong, and actually, when you look back on it, because it was perfect, it was never wrong,” Miller said.
In his speech, Miller shared his battles.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of my friends and as we said goodbye, I understood the full weight of those goodbyes,” Miller told the crowd at the Faces of Resilience event. “Eventually it got to be too much, something had to give way one way or the other, and that’s when I started my journey to heal from what I was experiencing.”
And he said while every day is a small win, he knows he has a lot of work to do and will keep trying to fight every day.
“I was in so much pain, I was so confused,” Miller said in his speech. “This is the road ahead of me, and all I have left is to walk it? But it wasn’t, I didn’t. I fought for it and that’s how I’m here.”
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or is struggling with their mental health, call or text 988 to be connected to a trained crisis counselor.