Kognito At-Risk for High School Educators


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



Kognito At-Risk for High School Educators is an online, interactive gatekeeper training program that is available in one-hour and two-hour versions. This training teaches high school teachers and other educators how to (1) identify students exhibiting signs of psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide; (2) approach students to discuss their concern; and (3) make a referral to school support services. Through role-plays with animated and responsive avatars, participants engage in simulated conversations with three students of concern with the help of a virtual coach. In these virtual conversations, users learn effective conversation strategies for broaching the topic of psychological distress, motivating the student to seek help, and avoiding pitfalls, such as attempting diagnose the problem or giving unwarranted advice. This online course is available from Kognito Interactive for a fee.

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, approach, and refer students exhibiting signs of psychological distress (2.8)
2: Likelihood of approaching and referring students exhibiting signs of psychological distress (2.8)
3: Confidence in one’s ability to help students exhibiting signs of psychological distress (2.8)

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 pre-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.  
  • Teachers who take the course should understand their school’s referral policies and protocols.
  • This course is most effective when used as part of a high school’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.