University of Houston to Change Its Mental Health Resources After Two Students Died By Suicide

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News Mar 31, 2023

University of Houston, Texas, USA

The University of Houston has announced it will be implementing changes to its mental health resources following the tragic deaths of two students by suicide this year.

About one month after one student took his own life on the university’s main campus on February 15 this year, the school faced another death by suicide on March 20, both at the same building, at Agnes Arnold Hall, Erudera.com reports.

In a letter written to the university’s students on Wednesday, Chancellor Renu Khator highlighted several proposed changes, among them the creation of two new task forces.

According to a report by the Houston Public Media, a service licensed by the University of Houston, Khator invited students to offer ideas that would contribute to the long-lasting solutions to mental health challenges on campus.

“While we can do certain things in the short term, the long-term solutions lie in building a culture of resiliency and care, and you are an important part of this effort. We need your voice, your ideas and your participation,” the Chancellor wrote in her letter.

One of the task forces will evaluate the future of Agnes Arnold Hall where these suicides have occurred in short and long-term, whereas the other will focus on enhancing mental health support on campus.

The university said it is also working to improve its Counseling and Psychological Services programs and has removed service fees so students’ financial situation doesn’t stop them from accessing professional support.

After these tragedies reported earlier this month, the institution decided to close Agnes Arnold Hall and switched online those days to limit access to the building.

In response, students rallied on March 23 to honor the two students who died on campus and highlighted the urgent need for more mental health resources at the university.

“I had heard really positive things about the University of Houston, and since getting here, I’ve just been really embarrassed with the way the university has decided to approach and handle things like suicide happening on campus,” Student and organizer Erin Smart said.

While some students, such as protest organizer Lauren Morton, were pleased with the changes expected to be implemented, many students appeared concerned. They called on the university to continue undertaking action to address the ongoing mental health crisis that is affecting students, not only in the US but worldwide.

Student Solidarity at UH, which organized the rally, reports that suicidal thoughts among students on campus have increased by 30 percent to 40 percent.

Despite the availability of wellness resources at universities, many students report worsening mental health in many countries. In Australia, researchers said mental health support for international students studying in the country should become a priority to prevent student suicides.

>> Yale Changes Its Mental Health Policy, Students in Mental Crisis Allowed to Take Days Off

Image source: Terren Hurst | Unsplash

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