Don’t Make it Weird: Talk About Mental Health

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don't make it weird

May is mental health awareness month, and a local nonprofit is raising awareness and offering support to those struggling and their families.

HARRY MILLER appeared to have it all. The 2019 graduate of Buford High School was the valedictorian of his class, a missionary who serves on the board of “Mission For Nicaragua,” and a 5-star football recruit who had full scholarship offers to nearly every top football program in the country. Ultimately, he chose to play at The Ohio State University where he saw time on the field playing as a freshman and would soon be interviewing agents who wanted to represent him in the NFL draft as a likely early round pick. All was going as planned, or so everyone thought. Late in the evening on a warm August night in 2021, Harry would make a call to his mother that changed the trajectory of all their lives forever with five words, “I can’t do this anymore.” The following day after speaking to his Head Coach Ryan Day, telling him about his overwhelming desire and intent to take his life, he received the help he desperately needed. Like any other injury or illness, Harry began working with professionals to help heal from an illness that no one else could see, but everyone was talking about, “Where is Harry Miller?”

After quietly sitting out of the 2021 season with much speculation as to his whereabouts, Harry decided it was time to put an end to the false narratives circulating and tell his story by announcing his medical retirement from football. To read Harry’s medical retirement statement, visit DMIW.org. His statement caught the hearts of the country, and he was instantly catapulted into a newer, more important role, Mental Health Advocate. His mission is simple, to break the stigma surrounding mental illness by raising awareness and education, using the motto, “Don’t Make It Weird: Talk About Mental Health.” Harry graduated from The Ohio State University in December 2023, Summa Cum Laude, with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

Now, working as a Mental Health Consultant and Advocate, Harry travels the country sharing his story and working to further his mission to help others struggling with mental illness. He is also spending time in Washington D.C. helping create and support policy and legislation such as the TEAMS Act, requiring coaches be adequately trained in signs and symptoms of mental illness, as well as how to get the student-athlete the help they need, among other initiatives.

Very soon after Harry announced his retirement, his mother, Kristina Miller, was overwhelmed by the parents of children and young adults in our local community who were suffering in silence alone. From that realization, “Don’t Make It Weird”, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was born and is working to continue the conversation about mental health and breaking stigmas.

Don’t Make it Weird is working to open a community resource center to provide support and resources through shared lived experiences. According to Kristina, “This is not meant to replace counseling by professional therapists, but to walk beside those in crisis who need support, direction, empathy, and compassion on this very lonely and scary journey. The goal of the center will be to provide free classes to the community on suicide prevention, teenager first aid, IEP/504 planning, wellness topics, among other educational experiences. We will host a monthly meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of each month for family members of those facing mental illness. In addition, we will partner closely with National Alliance on Mental Illness Hall County / Ryan Joiner Foundation to provide resources, up-to-date class schedules, and learning opportunities at their location in Gainesville.”

On Friday, May 17th, The Faces of Buford and Veugeler Creative will be hosting a dinner and cornhole tournament fundraiser for Don’t Make it Weird at Tannery Row Ale House in downtown Buford. The community is invited to hear Harry’s story and come out and support this worthwhile cause.  Visit DMIW.org for more information about the services and fundraiser. 

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