Harry Miller opens up about mental health journey

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Six months ago, Harry Miller decided to step away from playing football at Ohio State due to his mental health. But today, you can still find him on the sidelines, encouraging his former teammates and providing inspiration for everyone.

What You Need To Know

  • Harry Miller medically retired from football in March due to his struggle with mental health and suicidal thoughts
  • Miller’s story garnered media attention across the country
  • Miller shared his story with the local community at the annual Faces of Resilience event
  • Miller says sharing his story and talking with friends and family has been the biggest thing that has helped him

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

Harry Miller opens up about mental health journey

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

“The messages that I thought in my head were not in a language that I did not know, it was 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 can think of them easily, I can say them easily and they can sneak up on me very easily. So yeah, every day is a victory in and of itself.”

Miller has 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 do well. So, it’s been good, it’s been good to be on the sidelines with my friends, with my teammates and to see everybody again.”

But his main priority has been sharing his story, like at the Annual Faces of Resilience event.

“It was something that I really care about,” Miller said. “I’m grateful that so many people would like to congregate in one place regarding this topic, pouring energy into this topic, taking this topic seriously.”

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is a mental health advocate, recently donating $1 million to Ohio State’s department of psychiatry and behavioral health to establish a mental health resilience fund. He says he’s proud of Miller and knows he’s battling every day.

Ryan Day prepares the Buckeyes before a game (Spectrum News 1/ Brandon Coello)

“I was fortunate enough to be the one that recruited him,” Day said. “We knew Harry was special, we knew he was going to have an impact on people. Never would you have imagined it would be like this, and at such a young age have such a great impact on people. He’s still in a battle, we know that. I’m proud of what he’s done and what he’s doing.”

“This is not what I had envisioned either. But it’s tremendous how perfectly everything can go wrong, and in fact, when you look back at it, because it was perfect, it wasn’t wrong ever,” Miller said.

In his speech, Miller shared his battles.

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

“I spoke with many of my friends and when we said goodbye to one another, I understood the full weight of those goodbyes,” Miller said to the crowd at the Faces of Resilience event. “Eventually it became too much, something had to give one way or another and that is when I began my journey to heal from what I was experiencing.”

And he said while each day is a little victory, he knows he has a lot to work on and will continue to try to battle each day.

“I was in so much pain, I was so confused,” Miller said in his speech. “This is the route that is laid out ahead of me and all that is left is for me to do it? But it was not, I did not. I fought to make it so and it is so that I am here.”

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