As a chair on Utah's emergency Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, which is working closely with Church leaders, LDS Lt. Governor Spencer Cox recently opened up about his own personal experience with suicidal thoughts. His new focus on creating discussions about suicide has begun shaping the way people talk with friends and family and has changed lives. Here is just one instance he shared:
Let’s talk about suicide.
Does that sentence make you uncomfortable? That’s ok. It made me uncomfortable for a long time too. . . .
A few days ago I was with a group of 30 or so middle school students. We talked about the legislative session and all the bills we should veto. And then we talked about suicide. I told them my story. I told them that, statistically, five of them, were seriously considering a suicide attempt. I told them that they weren’t alone. I told them to find someone to talk to — a friend, a parent, a teacher, anyone — and if they couldn’t find anyone, they could talk to me.
As the students were leaving, a 13-year old girl asked if she could give me a hug. “Of course!” I replied. As she hugged me, she whispered in my ear, “Thank you for talking about suicide. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and I needed to hear you say that today.”
We moved to the corner and talked for a minute. I told her we desperately need her on this earth. She promised me she would stay. She cried. I cried. We hugged again. I grabbed her teachers and administrators, and they promised they would follow up with her and get her the help she needs. I went back to my office with a lump in my throat and cried some more.