‘Some people are frustrated’: UH co-chair for Agnes Hall says counseling fees for students will now be waived

HOUSTON – There’s a growing memorial outside of the University of Houston’s Agnes Arnold Hall after three students committed suicide.

Since 2017, according to UH administrators, three students have jumped to their deaths at Agnes Arnold Hall. Two of those incidents happened this year.

“I was contacted within a few hours of the second suicide,” said Dr. Bob McPherson, a Psychologist and former Interim Provost.

Dr. McPherson is now the co-chair of the newly formed Agnes Arnold Hall and Mental Health Task Force.

“First and foremost, we want to make sure the building is safe and secure,” he said.

KPRC 2 saw new fencing, signage and security guards as the building remains closed to students. Still, some people say that’s not enough.

“Some people are angry,” Dr. McPherson said. “Some people are frustrated.”

“Whenever I need help with my mental health, I don’t necessarily think of U of H.,” Celeste Gibson, a UH student said.

Dr. McPherson says they are working to change that perspective. He says they have waived students’ fees for counseling and psychological services known as CAPS. The student health insurance company has also waived their service fees until the end of the semester.

“The school providing free service is helpful because school is already so expensive,” Theyiba Ahmed, a UH student said.

He says an outside audit will be done to review and recommend best practices for mental health services.

“It’s not going to go away,” Dr. McPherson said. “We’re going to continue to make every effort.”

Both task forces will have to submit their recommendations to the chancellor by May 15.