HOUSTON — Since 2017, three people have committed suicide at Agnes Arnold Hall at the University of Houston's main campus, prompting school officials to discuss the future of the building.
Due to the most recent death, which happened Monday, the university closed the building while school officials discussed its short and long-term use. They're also providing additional mental health support for those who may be in need.
All three people are believed to have fallen or jumped to their deaths. The building has open hallways on all of its floors and also has a basement-level courtyard.
Students said the building layout poses safety concerns.
"We want the building to be closed down, but if that can’t happen, we want some kind of safety measures on the building," student Lacey Stewart said.
Stewart is a psychology major and president of a student advocacy group. She said anti-suicidal infrastructure should be considered.
"We were all very saddened about it and we want something to change," she said about the most recent incident.
The university is also providing drop-in counseling centers and ongoing QPR (question, persuade and refer) training.
"It's really helping the campus community be equipped to be able to do some of the basic asking and identifying students who are at risk," UH Counseling and Psychological Services Dr. Norma Ngo said.
Ngo said there has been a 30% to 40% increase in students reporting suicidal thoughts since the pandemic. She said the people closest to them could be the most effective safety net.
"To help them know there is more than one option and suicide is not," Ngo said.
Stewart said she and her classmates are aware of the issue now more than ever.
"Just to be there for our friends. We never know what anyone is going through," she said.
UH said counseling services are available 24/7 by calling 713-743-5454 or visiting:
You can also call the United States Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 by dialing 988.