UT officials urge troubled students to seek help after garage death



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Posted on April 5, 2010 at 5:25 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 5 at 4:09 PM

University of Texas police are investigating the death of a freshman. Officers found the body around 2:40 a.m. Monday morning outside a campus parking garage at Brazos Street and MLK.

The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Nima Benjamin Yousefy, 18. The office says Yousefy appears to have jumped or fallen from one of the top levels of the parking garage.

Several calls went into 911 Monday morning alerting police to the death. Officers tied the area off with yellow police tape as they searched through the area -- at one point climbing up the stairwell to the top of the eight-level garage.  Police say there are no signs of a weapon, but it remains unclear whether or not the death was accidental.

Counselors on the campus are urging students to seek help in light of the tragedy. Counselors say suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.

“We don’t know why. We have different hypothesis but one of the things is we need timely death data to be able to figure out why,” said Merily Keller, Mental Health America of Texas.

According to Yousefy’s personal Facebook page, he was a 2009 Round Rock High School graduate and a current student at the University of Texas studying psychology.

“This is a challenging environment and for some students they come here and it’s the first time they’ve faced real adversity with classes. They sometimes are uprooted from their families and their support systems,” said Chris Brownson, UT Counseling and Mental  Health Center.

Brownson says there is a 24-hour counseling hotline available to students. The hotline number available to students is 471-CALL (2255).

There are also resources available on the campus website at cmhc.utexas.edu.  The website has a specific link focused on suicide prevention called “Be That One.” The link lists warning signs and information on how to help a friend.

The campus’ Counseling and Mental Health Center also has counselors available for students. Students are urged to call 471-3515 to make an appointment or walk in to the 5th floor of the Student Services Building if they need immediate help.

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