Kognito At-Risk for College Students


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


Kognito Interactive

Kognito At-Risk for University and College Students is a 30-minute, online, interactive gatekeeper training program that teaches students how to (1) identify students exhibiting signs of psychological distress, including depression and thoughts of suicide; (2) approach students to discuss their concern; and (3) make referrals to university counseling centers. Students also learn about support services and resources at their campus, including counseling centers. In the training, learners assume the role of a college student concerned about four friends. The user explores four different social circumstances throughout the school year to locate and learn about warning signs related to their “friends.” Then, they engage in a simulated conversation with the student avatar they have identified as being most at risk. In the virtual conversation, users learn effective conversation tactics and motivational interviewing techniques to effectively broach the topic of their concern, motivate the student to seek help, and avoid pitfalls, such as attempting to counsel.

Designation as a “Program with Evidence of Effectiveness”

SPRC designated this intervention as a “program with evidence of effectiveness” based on its inclusion in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

Outcome(s) Reviewed (Overall Quality of Research Rating-scale of 0 to 4)*

1: Preparedness to recognize fellow students in psychological distress (2.4)
2: Preparedness to approach fellow students in psychological distress (2.4)
3: Preparedeness to refer fellow students in psychological distress (2.4)
4: Likelihood of approaching and referring fellow students exhibting signs of psychological distress (2.5)
5: Willingness to seek mental health counseling for self (2.4)

Read more about this program’s ratings.


* NREPP changed its review criteria in 2015. This program is a “legacy program,” meaning that it was reviewed under the post-2015 criteria.The evidence for each outcome was reviewed and scored on a scale of 0-4, with 4 indicating the highest quality of evidence and 0 indicating very poor quality of evidence. The overall rating was based on ratings of six criteria: 1) reliability of measures, 2) validity of measures, 3) intervention fidelity, 4) missing data and attrition, 5) potential confounding variables, and 6) appropriateness of analysis. When considering programs, we recommend (a) assessing whether the specific outcomes achieved by the program are a fit for your needs; and (b) examining the strength of evidence for each outcome.

Implementation Essentials

  • The program’s implementation manual should be thoroughly reviewed prior to program implementation.  
  • The institution’s Counseling Center staff should have the ability to assess and manage students who may be at risk for suicide prior to program implementation.
  • This course is most effective when used as part of a college or university’s 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.