Suicide in the United States has been on the rise for decades and Utah is not immune to this increase. Unfortunately, the suicide rate in Utah has been above the national average for over ten years and is especially high among teens and young adults. Lt. Governor Cox has shared his personal experiences with suicidal ideation as a young man and speaks with school groups and other youth organizations regularly to bolster awareness. His hope is that talking about suicide and mental health more frequently and more openly will help remove the negative stigma that often surrounds these issues.
To further combat suicide in Utah, Governor Gary Herbert established the Teen Suicide Prevention Task Force in January 2018. The task force is comprised of community leaders and mental health experts and directed by Lt. Governor Cox and State Representative Steve Eliason. Their mission is to prioritize insights from the State’s Suicide Prevention Coalition and posit a clear plan for rapid community engagement and how public and private support can help stem the tide of youth suicide. During the 2018 and 2019 Legislative Sessions, the task force advocated for and helped pass 11 different bills expanding mental health and suicide prevention resources and programs. There is still more to be done and Lt. Governor Cox is at the forefront of many efforts. You can learn more about Utah’s efforts on suicide prevention at https://utahsuicideprevention.org/.