Bastrop father of Southern cheerleader speaks out after suicide

“I will never forget that smile in my whole life. It’s like she glowed.”
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:14 PM CDT
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BASTROP, La. (KNOE) - The father of a Southern University cheerleader is speaking out after her tragic death. Arlana Miller committed suicide on May 4.

Her father, Arthur Miller, says with May being National Mental Health Awareness Month, he hopes his daughter’s struggle will show others that it’s okay not to be okay.

“I mean, she was the most loving little girl I could ever ask for,” Miller told KNOE.

Arlana was days away from completing her first year at Southern University when she committed suicide by walking into the Mississippi River.

“She texted me the night before she walked into the water, and she said, please pray for me,” Miller explained. “I didn’t know what was wrong. I just called her, and she didn’t answer. So I called her again and left her a voicemail of prayer. She never answered.”

In a heartbreaking suicide note posted on Instagram, Miller outlined her lifelong mental health struggles, which she says were compounded by a torn ACL, the COVID-19 pandemic, and troubles in school.

“That was the made-up view of Arlana, and she told us she was dead inside,” said her father. “But oh, we are looking at a beautiful girl. She’s gorgeous, but on the inside, she’s dying.

Also, in the note, which has since been taken off social media, Miller urges people to find a way to vocalize their feelings and check in on the people they love.

“It was designed to help other people,” explained Miller. “Strong people that appear strong and appear like everything is all right.”

As for what Miller will miss most about his daughter.

“I will never forget that smile in my whole life,” he said. “It’s like she glowed.”

Miller says the funeral will be in Texas, but he will hold a memorial service at the Morehouse Baptist Education Association on May 15 at 5 PM.

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