Ohio State Football Player Shares Mental Health Struggles And Why He Wants To Help Others

A 6'4" and 300-pound college football player might not be who you would picture as the face of mental health struggles, but Harry Miller is just that (via Today). At Ohio State University, Harry has played as an offensive lineman but recently revealed that he is "medically retiring." In other words, he's trading in his cleats and jersey to tend to his mental well-being and sharing his story along the way.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Harry is far from being alone. In 2020, it was reported that one in five adults in the U.S. suffered from mental illness, one in 20 experienced severe mental illness, and over 12 million had serious thoughts about suicide. In adolescents aged 12-17, one in six experienced a major depressive episode, and in young adults aged 18-25, as many as 33% experienced mental illness.

A long-lived mental health journey

Harry is using his platform to speak up, and he shares via ENews, "People have called me brave, but to me, it just felt like not dying and felt like being honest." He also revealed he's had anxiety and depression since childhood and even contemplated taking his own life at 8 years old (via Today). Despite the challenges, he graduated high school as valedictorian and earned a 4.0 GPA at Ohio State as an engineering student.

When his mental health took a turn for the worse, Harry told his coach that he was contemplating taking his own life, and his coach helped him get support from mental health professionals. He came back to school this past fall with scars on his wrists and throat, and on March 10, he decided to step back from football. In his announcement posted on Twitter, he wrote, "They are hard to see, and they are easy to hide, but they sure do hurt." He told Today, "I would just say hope is just pretending to believe in something until one day you don't have to pretend any more."

If you are struggling with your mental health, know that you're not alone and help is available to you. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You can also text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 to be put in touch with a crisis counselor.