Gov. Cox opens up about past mental heath struggles at press conference

Aug 18, 2022, 4:01 PM | Updated: 4:07 pm
Gov. Cox mental health...
Gov. Spencer Cox speaks before the ceremonially signing bills focused on law enforcement and mental health issues at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Cox will participate in his Governor's Day event on Saturday at Camp Williams.

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox began his August press conference on a somber mental health note by announcing that, just yesterday, he lost a dear friend to suicide.

“It’s no secret that Utah has a high suicide rate as compared to the rest of the nation, I think we have the 6th highest rate right now,” he said.

He then admitted that when he was young, he had struggled with suicide ideation (suicidal thoughts, or ideas).

“You are not alone,” he continued, “you are not broken, there is nothing unfixable about you,” he said, to anyone who may be having these thoughts right now.

Gov. Cox urged Utahns who may be struggling with a mental health crisis to reach out and to have a conversation with their loved ones about suicide and mental health. He said that bringing the topic up and getting it off someone’s chest helps immensely.

“We need you and we need you here,” Gov. Cox said. “So please reach out and get help.”

He said that one action, reaching out, can keep people alive. 

Gov. Cox wants mental health resources to be widespread, known by all

One of the resources Gov. Cox wants more Utahns to know about is QPR training, which is a way to talk about suicide prevention.

In the acronym, the letter Q stands for “question.” It’s a way to start the conversation by asking if a person has ever thought about suicide, and if so, how recently.

The letter P stands for “persuade,” or, persuade the person to go get help.

And the letter R stands for “refer,” or, refer the person to a self-help organization, or to professional help or other resources.

The SafeUT App can immediately put a user in contact with a professional at the University of Utah.

Dialing the new suicide hotline, 988, also quickly puts a user in touch with somebody that can help.

Somebody in crisis can also text TALK to 741741, or visit

If you or someone you love is in need of suicide prevention support, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit

For support in Utah, call the UNI Crisis Line at 801-587-3000.

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Gov. Cox opens up about past mental heath struggles at press conference