At-Risk for University and College Faculty

is an online, interactive gatekeeper training simulation used at more than 300 campuses nationwide. In this 45-minute training, faculty and staff learn how to recognize when a student is exhibiting signs of psychological distress and how to approach and connect the student with support services on campus.

View the At-Risk for University Students Product Tour View the At-Risk for University Students Product Tour

Avatar-Based Learning

Users engage in conversations with emotionally responsive student avatars who exhibit signs of psychological distress. In this process, they practice and learn to use open-ended questions, reflective listening and other motivational interviewing techniques to effectively:

Broach the topic
of psychological distress

Discuss their concern
with the student

Avoid common pitfalls
such as attempting to diagnose the
problem or giving unwarranted advice

Institutional Benefits

  • Promote early intervention

    Students experiencing psychological distress tend to exhibit behaviors that can be detected by fellow members of their academic community.

    An estimated 1,350 suicides occur annually among college students, and 6% of college students say they have seriously considered suicide in the past year. Unfortunately, most of these students go unseen by counselors, leaving them, and others, at risk.

    Gatekeeper training - teaching people within a community to recognize a person at risk - has been shown to be a valuable strategy in increasing early intervention efforts.

    Two studies conducted to assess At-Risk for University and College Faculty show its capacity to assist in promoting early intervention:

    1. An increase in faculty recognition that acting as gatekeepers is part of their role

    2. An improvement in faculty confidence and the motivation to identify and approach at-risk students

    Download our whitepaper to learn more: The Case for Gatekeeper Training

  • Increase student retention and academic performance

    Student withdrawal remains a serious problem for colleges and universities. In fact, approximately 45% of students enrolled in two-year colleges depart during their first year, and approximately 25% of students depart from a four-year college or university before graduating. Because they often struggle academically, students in psychological distress are highly at risk of dropping out of school.

    Several studies have shown that counseling is an effective tool in increasing retention rates for students experiencing psychological distress. With the prevalence of psychological distress on today's campuses, counseling services can have an invaluable impact on retention rates and, therefore, on the institution's bottom line.

  • Reduce the stigma associated with mental illness
  • Increase visibility for campus mental health initiatives


  • Engaging, skill-based curriculum

    Kognito is an award-winning developer of online role-playing simulations and games where users build interpersonal skills to effectively manage challenging conversations in the areas of health and behavioral health.

    At-Risk is built using Kognito's proprietary Human Interaction Game Engineā„¢, which is based on research in social cognition, neuroscience, and motivational interviewing. The platform enables Kognito to author and deliver virtual practice environments where learners engage in challenging conversations with emotionally responsive avatars that act and respond like real humans thereby replicating real-life interactions. As a result, learners become more confident, motivated, and capable of managing similar conversations in real life.

    A national study at 68 universities and colleges found that At-Risk:

    1. Increases the likelihood that faculty will approach and refer students exhibiting signs of psychological distress.

    2. Increases faculty knowledge and skill with regard to identifying, approaching and referring at-risk students.

  • Online, 24/7 accessibility
  • Built-in program assessment and tracking tools

    Assessment Tools

    The course includes optional pre-, post-, and follow-up surveys that gather feedback from users and provide insights into changes in their knowledge, skills, and behavior. These results are summarized into reports which can be shared with stakeholders and granting agencies.

    Reports include the following data about learners:

    1. Changes in the number of students identified, approached and referred

    2. Changes in perception of, and motivation toward, becoming a gatekeeper

    3. Changes in skills, knowledge and confidence to identify, approach and refer students in distress

    Usage Tracking Tools

    The course tracks users' names, emai addresses, progress through the course, and completion rates. Clients have access to a password-protected account where they can view and download these reports.

  • Materials for on-campus promotion

    To promote At-Risk to potential learners, clients are provided with the following materials at no additional cost:

    1. Suggested Email Language to send to potential end-users

    2. 8.5" x 11" color flyer about the course that can be printed and handed out to learners

    3. PowerPoint presentation about the training that can be used to solicit the support of key stakeholders and motivate learners to participate

    4. Animated and narrated trailers about the course to solicit the help of stakeholders and motivate learners to participate

    5. Language to post on your university's website about the course

    6. Dedicated Kognito account manager to support and assist you in planning your campus roll-out

  • Integrated campus-specific information on policies and counseling center

    At-Risk includes a customizable local resources web page, where you can enter information about your school's specific referral policies, counseling center, and other campus resources. Users will be able to access/print this page while viewing the course.

Research and Achievements

  • Listed in the SPRC/AFSP Best Practices Registry for suicide prevention programs

    At-Risk received national recognition by being listed in the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention.

    At-Risk is the first simulation-based training program to be included in this prestigious national registry. Resources are added to the registry after review by a team of independent suicide prevention experts.

  • A longitudinal study at 63 colleges and universities – NEW

    A longitudinal study among 430 faculty and staff at 63 institutions of higher education found that all dependent variables showed statistically significant (p<.05) increases from pre- to post-training, and that those increases remained significant at three, six, and 12-month follow-up points. These findings strongly suggest that At-Risk for University Faculty and Staff has an immediate and strong enduring impact on:

    (1) Building Gatekeeper Skills – identifying, approaching, and referring students exhibiting signs of psychological distress

    (2) Changing Gatekeeper Behaviors – increasing the number of students that learners connect with and approach to discuss their concerns, and, if necessary, refer to support services as well as discuss concerns about such students with colleagues in school.

    Finally, the study showed that participants found the training to be easy to use, engaging, realistic, and helpful to them in getting timely help to students.

  • Over 300 colleges and universities have adopted At-Risk

    Since introduced in September 2009, over 300 colleges and universities in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia have adopted At-Risk as part of their suicide prevention strategy. You can view a list of clients here.

Resources for Grant Applications Product Sheet National Follow-Up Study at 68 Universities Free Trial Free Webinar
Connect with us: Follow Kognito on Facebook Follow Kognito on Twitter Follow Kognito on LinkedIn Follow Kognito on Vimeo