Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.
Harry Miller, the Ohio State offensive lineman who announced he was retiring medically from football, spoke directly to ‘The Today Show’ camera to deliver an emotional message of hope to anyone who struggles as he does with mental health issues, depression and suicide.
“I would just say that hope is just pretending to believe in something until the day you don’t have to pretend anymore,” Miller said at 6:09 in the video below. “And right now you have all the logic, all the justification in the world to give up. And I would just ask, pretend a little bit, and then one day you won’t have to pretend and you’ll be happy.”
Miller said he recently returned from Nicaragua on a mission trip sitting next to a mother and son and realized how easily he would have given that up. He continued his message by looking directly at the camera again.
“I’m so grateful,” Miller said, still holding back tears throughout the eight-minute segment. “And I would just ask to keep pretending and then one day you won’t have to, and you’ll be so glad you did. And that’s the only advice I think I can come up with.”
Miller announced in a social media post on March 10 that he was medically retiring from football ahead of his senior season at Ohio State. He wrote in the post that he went to Buckeyes coach Ryan Day before the 2021 season and told him he wanted to kill himself. He said he “planned to be reduced to my initials on a sticker on the back of a helmet”. Day immediately connected him with doctors to receive the help he needed for his mental health. Months later, Miller shared her story to shed more light on the matter.
“We kind of described it as the weather,” Miller said of his backstage chat with “The Today Show” host Carson Daly. “You go out and you see it’s raining and people say, ‘What about the weather today?’ And you have instead of raining cats and dogs, it’s raining young people out of buildings. And you look around and say, “There’s something going on right now. And something has to happen.” The dilemma is that nobody has to say anything, but that’s precisely why someone has to say something.
“I had no intention of it happening the way it did. People called me brave, but for me it felt like not dying and I felt like I was being honest. Maybe bravery is just being honest when it would be easier not to. And if that’s bravery, so be it. But I just got really grateful to a , to receive the help that I have, and then two to have learned things that I can share with others.
Miller said he was 8 years old when he told his mother he wanted to kill himself. He said he received treatment and “has always been anxious and depressed”. He felt good as he attended high school in Buford, Georgia and was valedictorian. He was also the nation’s No. 2 ranked guard in his 2019 class according to Rivals. He opted to attend Ohio State, where he was a backup center in 2019 and started seven games at left guard in 2020.
In addition to the pressures in the field, the mechanical engineering major had classes for juggling and dealing with harsh social media posts.
“You have these young people who are propelled under these bright lights as a student-athlete,” he said. “You’re playing a game [and] it’s a hard game, maybe you made a lot of mistakes, and people will send you messages saying transfer, you suck. Some people receive death threats that I know on the team. And I try to text my mom (and) that’s the first thing I see. You can’t worry too much about it because you have an exam the next day and you have it for weeks, then months. And at the end of the semester, you’re like, what’s going on right now?”
Miller’s post announcing his mental health issues came nine days after the suicide of national champion goalie Katie Meyer at Stanford. Her parents, Steve and Gina Meyer, spoke openly about her death days later on “The Today Show” and said there were “no red flags.” They asked for more communication between parents and college officials.