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Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox opens up about his own experiences with suicide in revealing Medium post

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during Tech Day on the Hill at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during Tech Day on the Hill in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018.
Ravell Call, Deseret News

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox recently wrote an essay on the online publishing platform Medium about his brushes with suicide.

Cox’s post, which has amassed more than 1,700 “claps” on Medium and praise from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, begins with him recounting a speech he gave at a community suicide prevention meeting in Tremonton.

As the Standard Examiner reported on the event, Cox went through a tough time in his life after his parents divorced when he was 10 years old. In middle school, times grew tougher, as he was stuffed into a garbage can.

Cox said he thought about “what it would be like if I wasn’t here anymore, and how much better off everyone would be if I wasn’t here.”

But Cox said he never got to the place where he attempted suicide. And he never spoke about it either.

“That night (in Tremonton) was life-changing for other reasons, too,” he wrote. “I listened to experts and survivors and family members of people who had died by suicide. Honestly, I learned more about suicide prevention in one evening than my previous 40 years combined. But mostly, I learned that we simply need to talk about it more — and that contrary to what you may have heard, there is NO evidence that talking about suicide makes it more likely to happen.”

Cox wrote on Medium that he went home after that community event and spoke with his teenage boys about suicide.

Cox also wrote that he’s spent a lot of time speaking with experts and advocates about suicide prevention.

“I learned that our LGBT youth are at much higher risk for suicide ideation and completion. I learned that connection is the best prevention. And I learned, again, that we need to talk about it more. Much more. We need to talk about mental illness and suicide the way we talk about a cold, or a broken bone, or the flu. So I’ve started talking about it more. And I hope you will, too,” he wrote.

Read the entire article at Medium.