Harry Miller talks about the mental health journey

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Six months ago, Harry Miller decided to retire from Ohio State football because of his mental health. But today you can still find him on the sidelines encouraging his former teammates and inspiring everyone.

what you should Know

  • Harry Miller took a medical retirement from football in March due to his mental health issues and suicidal thoughts
  • Miller’s story attracted media attention across the country
  • Miller shared her story with the local community at the annual Faces of Resilience event
  • Miller says sharing his story and talking to friends and family are the biggest things that have helped him

Miller was set for greatness on the football field, with expectations to be a captain this season and a starter. But in March he opened up about his mental health and suicidal thoughts and decided to retire on medical grounds.

Harry Miller after a game last season (Spectrum News 1/Katie Kapusta)

“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 no one wants you here’, ‘Harry you shouldn’t be here anymore’. I make them up easily, I say them easily, and they can sneak up on me very easily. So yes, every day is a win in itself.”

Miller spent 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 my friends doing well. So it was good, it was good to be on the sidelines with my friends, with my teammates and to see everybody again.”

But his main priority is sharing his story, such as at the Annual Faces of Resilience event.

“It was something I was really interested in,” Miller said. “I’m grateful that so many people would want to come together on this topic, injecting energy into this topic, taking this topic seriously.”

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is an advocate for mental health, recently donating $1 million to the Ohio State Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health to establish a mental health resilience fund. He says he’s proud of Miller and knows he’s fighting every day.

Ryan Day preps Buckeyes before game (Spectrum News 1/ Brandon Coello)

“I was fortunate enough to be the one to recruit him,” Day said. “We knew Harry was special, we knew he would have an impact on people. You would never imagine that it would be like this and at such a young age it would have such a big impact on people. He’s still in the fight, we know that. I’m proud of what he’s done and what he’s doing.”

“It’s not what I imagined 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 struggles.

Harry Miller was the keynote speaker at the Faces of Resilience event (Spectrum News 1/Katie Kapusta)

“I talked to a lot of my friends, and when we said goodbye to each other, I realized the weight of those goodbyes,” Miller told the crowd at the Faces of Resilience event. “Eventually it became too much, I had to give something one way or another and that’s when I started my journey to heal from what I went through.”

And he said that even though every day is a small victory, he knows he has a lot to work on and will continue to try to fight every day.

“I was in so much pain, I was so confused,” Miller said in his speech. “This is the route laid out before me and all that’s left is to do it? But it wasn’t, I didn’t. I fought to make it so and it is so that I am here.”

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or struggling with your mental health, call or text 988 to be connected to a trained crisis counselor.

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