Frontman for the Lake Highlands-rooted alternative country band Old 97’s, and graduate of St. Mark’s in Preston Hollow, Rhett Miller showed support for the Okay To Say movement, which encourages people to speak openly about personal experiences with mental illness, with the goal of reducing stigma and urging sufferers and their loved ones to seek help. For his part, Miller shared that he’s “spent the better part of my life in and out of therapy, more in than out,” stressing how lucky his is to actually have access to such treatment.
He describes a “particularly dark time” when he was about 14 years old and attempted suicide.
“It was an attempt that probably should have worked but it didn’t, and I am so glad that it didn’t,” says the singer songwriter, now 45.
Following that he became acutely aware of his mental health, he says. That near-tragic day “doesn’t seem like 30 years ago,” he says.
If he could talk to his 14-year-old self or a young person today, I would tell him or her what you’re going through is normal … it’s hard and terrifying and it seems like no one understands … I don’t want to tell you you’re wrong, but you’re wrong. There are people our there all around that will love you, will help you, and understand what you are going through. What do you have to lose.”
There was a world of brilliant things that he almost missed out on, he says. He wants people to know it’s OK to say that you feel hopeless, adrift or scared.
According to the Okay to Say website, three in four Texans have experience with self or loved ones with mental illness issues. Nine of ten Texans think it’s harder to discuss mental problems than physical ones with a doctor.
If you have a story to share, Rhett and the organization encourage you to visit the site and share it.
The Old 97’s for the past two years have headlined Lake Highlands Oktoberfest.