At-Risk for University and College Faculty: Identifying and Referring Students in Mental Distress


(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)


Kognito Interactive

At-Risk is sold as a yearly, institution-wide license which allows schools to make the training available to all faculty, adjunct, administrators, and staff in their institution. Annual license pricing begins at $3,250. The license includes technical support, training assessment tools, user tracking system, and materials for on-campus promotion.

Contact Kognito for a price quote. Further program information and a demo can be found at


Kognito At-Risk is a 45-minute interactive, web-based training simulation that gives higher education faculty and staff the knowledge necessary to identify and refer students exhibiting symptoms of mental distress, including depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. In the simulation, users assume the role of a faculty member who is concerned about several of his students. Users analyze profiles of these virtual students – including information about their academic performance, behaviors, and appearance – to identify those who are at-risk and then engage in simulated conversations with them to determine whether and how to refer them to the counseling center. If users decide to refer a student, they must respond to the student’s hesitations and help the student understand how counseling could benefit them. The training is completed once the user successfully identifies and refers the at-risk students.

At-Risk was created by Kognito, a developer of role-playing training simulations in partnership with the Mental Health Association of New York City. University counselors provided further feedback and insight to ensure that the end product provides a valuable and comprehensive learning experience. At-Risk is built upon Kognito’s Human Interaction Simulation Platform™, which enables users to practice having conversations with realistic, fully animated and emotionally responsive avatars. This innovative learning approach provides learners with comprehensive experience having conversations with at-risk students, thereby making them better equipped and more confident to handle similar situations in real life.

Program Objectives

After training, faculty and staff will have:

  1. Increased knowledge of signs of student psychological distress.
  2. Increased knowledge of how to communicate with at-risk students.
  3. Increased knowledge of local resources and referral points for at-risk students.

Implementation Essentials

  • The At-Risk implementation manual should be thoroughly reviewed prior to program implementation.
  • At-Risk has several customizable features that should be modified to inform faculty and staff of the unique resources of each campus.
  • At-Risk is most effective when used as part of a campus’ larger strategic plan to identify and help at-risk students.

2012 NSSP Objectives Addressed: 

Objective 7.1: Provide training on suicide prevention to community groups that have a role in the prevention of suicide and related behaviors.