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John Kasich comforts woman who lost five family members to suicide at VCU town hall

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John Kasich

RICHMOND, Va. — John Kasich didn’t know how the woman before him was standing.

Standing before him at the Virginia Commonwealth University town hall, she spoke of losing five family members to suicide — and wanted to know what the Ohio governor would do about mental health and suicide prevention.

Kasich was shocked.

“How are you standing?” asked the presidential candidate, who himself frequently talks about his parents’ deaths.

“I have no idea what to say to you,” Kasich said before sharing more of his own experience: His parents were killed by a drunk driver, causing him to turn religion.

“I had nothing but a black hole with a tiny little pinprick of light, and many of you in this room have experienced that, haven’t you? It’s really hard. The storms of life come and they inevitably go,” Kasich said.

At another point, one audience member called for Kasich to give the woman who had relayed her loss a hug.

“She needs more than my hug,” he said. “This issue of depression is real and if it hasn’t visited your family get on your knees and thank God that it has not.”

Kasich said that while he has taken heat among conservatives for expanding Medicaid in Ohio as a result of Obamacare, he used the funds to take care of the mentally ill, those addicted to drugs and working poor.

“If I’m president we will address this issue, and if I’m not president I am not going to give up in Ohio until we do everything we can to improve the situation for them, and that’s my pledge.”