Step In, Speak Up!: Supporting LGBTQ Students


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



The cost of the program depends on the size of the population to which the purchasing institution plans to make the training available, and the amount of time they would like those licenses to be active (e.g., one year). Institution-wide pricing begins at $2,500.

See This Resource

Kognito Step In, Speak Up!:Supporting LGBTQ Students is a 25-minute, online, interactive training simulation intended for use by teachers and school staff. In the training, users assume the role of an educator and engage in three simulated experiences that address common challenges affecting educators and their students who may be struggling with psychological distress and suicidal ideation related to harassment or exclusion related to sexual identity, sexual orientation or other differences. During the simulations users learn about the challenges facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and how to (1) address harassment and homophobic language in the classroom, (2) broach topics such as bullying, harassment and sexual identity with a student, (3) ask a student about suicidal thoughts or plans, and (4) make appropriate referrals, including referrals to supportive adults and mental health or crisis services, on and off school grounds. By addressing the common challenges facing LGBTQ or other vulnerable students, teachers and staff will create a more supportive academic environment for all students and support prevention and early intervention through effective referrals.

The program was developed by Kognito Interactive with input from mental health experts and staff from not-for-profit, LGBTQ youth-serving organizations. Kognito also conducted several face-to-face focus groups with LGBTQ students and educators as part of the development process.

Program Objectives

  1. Increase knowledge about the common challenges facing LGBTQ students, including verbal and physical abuse, compromised school attendance/performance, and higher rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
  2. Increase knowledge of best practice techniques for creating a safe learning environment and addressing harassment and bullying when it is observed.
  3. Increase motivation and likelihood to approach a student to discuss their struggles with psychological distress and suicidal and refer them to on- or off-campus support services.
  4. Increase motivation and likelihood to ask a student if they are considering suicide.

Implementation Essentials

  • Educators who use Kognito Step In, Speak Up! should be aware of their school’s referral policies and protocols for students who may be at risk for suicide.
  • Kognito Step In, Speak Up! is most effective when used as part of a 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.