DENTON, TX - The University of North Texas is trying to prevent suicides by placing help signs near the highest points on campus for students contemplating suicide.
One of the signs is on the 7th floor of the Highland Street parking garage. It has phone numbers to counselors on the other end of the line. The university hopes for students who may be up there for another reason, the first thing they see are the signs.
"We just wanted to have a reminder to people in case they're up here and maybe having thoughts of suicide or any kind of mental health kind of issues to let them know that we're here to help them," said Margarita Venegas.
The campus CARE team.. Made up of staff and students, decided to post the suicide prevention signs. The group has counseled 162 students in the past year who are dealing with suicidal thoughts or depression.
"Anytime we have a student reach out and that's one more life that we're impacting and that's important to us," said Venegas.
Although the campus says they've never had anyone jump from the top of the garage. The signs were more of a proactive approach.
But student advisor Paul Galloway says when he came up here on a break one day, A UNT officer was there on the top level and immediately approached him.
"He wasn't sure if I was a student who was thinking about hurting myself so he just interacted with me and I assured him I wasn't," said Galloway.
The phone numbers ring to the county's mental health center which is staffed 24/7. One of the numbers is for LGBTQ students. While mental health experts we spoke with tell us the signs may have limited effectiveness, the University says, it's a first step.