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Gov. Cox addresses mental health and drought in August press conference

Governor Cox stands at a pulpit for his August press conference
Utah Office of the Governor
/
PBS Utah
Governor Cox at his monthly press conference.

Gov. Cox began this month’s press conference by thanking teachers for the important work that they do. Cox said that he planned to spend more time on the importance of teachers, but due to the recent death of a friend, he felt the need to speak on suicide prevention.

“It's no secret that Utah has a high suicide rate as compared to the rest of the nation. Please reach out and get help. We have a new suicide prevention hotline, like 911 only for mental health. It's 988 and at the push of three buttons you can immediately be connected with a professional who can help you through that crisis,” he said.

Another resource he urged Utahns to utilize is the SafeUT app. Not only does the app offer mental health support, Cox said, it has also been a vital tool in keeping Utah’s schools safe.

“It gives it gives kids and parents the ability anonymously to connect with law enforcement to report any type of suspicious activity that may be out there,” Cox said.

Cox also addressed how the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act may impact the state of Utah through environmental permitting reforms saying that if those promised permit reforms address inefficiencies in federal environmental regulations, specifically in the National Environmental Policy Act, the US will be able to move forward toward environmentally friendly energy faster.

“If you really care about the climate, and you care about reducing emissions, we have to find ways to greatly increase the speed at which we're able to build these transmission lines,” Cox said.

Addressing climate issues, including water usage and drought, is not merely an environmental concern for Utah, Cox said, but also an economic one.

“Our ability to grow not just in southern Utah, but throughout Utah will be strictly dependent on our ability to make sure that we have enough water available,” Cox said.

Cox said that the drought is not a Utah drought, but a western drought, and that other states dealing with similar issues must also be part of the solution.