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UAS Launches At-Risk Training Module for Campus Community

These trainings help our UAS community better respond to those students in distress, supporting them, connecting them to resources, and possibly saving a life.

Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Alaska

Date of Press Release: October 5, 2017

The University of Alaska Southeast has partnered with the Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition to provide—Kognito At-Risk—a powerful training resource for UAS faculty, staff, and students. The training is designed to build awareness, knowledge, and skills about mental health and suicide prevention.

Over 350 colleges and universities use At-Risk, which has been listed in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

The ultimate goal of the online program is to use simulated and interactive scenarios as guides for how to identify warning signs of psychological distress, how to respond to those who may be at risk, and how to offer encouragement.

At-Risk will help UAS faculty, staff, and students lead conversations with each other to discuss concerns, build resilience, and increase connectedness.

The program helps students build skills in how to approach a peer in a manner to motivate them to access support.

By providing users with hands-on experience, At-Risk goes beyond building awareness to building skills and confidence in users to lead similar conversations in real-life.

Margie Thomson, coordinator of UAS counseling, health, and disability services believes the At-Risk training program will help to create a campus culture of wellness and safety, as well as build skills in recognizing and responding to at-risk students.

“Faculty have expressed that they are seeing more and more students who disclose very difficult issues to them,” she said. “It is hoped that this training will provide the UAS community with more resources and tools to identify and address these issues. Student mental health affects performance and productivity in school and can impact the success, retention, safety, and ability to function well.”

Not only can the training help to sharpen skills and tools for the immediate crisis or issue, it can also help to destigmatize mental illness, encourage using supports, and provide long term benefits to the campus when investing in a trauma informed culture of wellness.

According to Kognito, only 40 percent of U.S. college and university students who experience psychological distress seek help because of factors including stigma, underestimation of the severity of their condition, and lack of knowledge that help is available on campus. By addressing these issues, Kognito’s simulations have been shown to significantly increase the number of at-risk students who are approached and referred to mental health services by individual students, faculty and staff.

Multiple studies have shown that anxiety and depression have a negative impact on grades and students’ perception of their quality of life, which in turn has a major influence on the decision to drop out of school.

“These trainings help our UAS community better respond to those students in distress, supporting them, connecting them to resources, and possibly saving a life,” Thomson continued.

UAS faculty and staff, and students taking at least one class in Juneau, Ketchikan, or Sitka are encouraged to explore the At-Risk training module.

About Kognito

Kognito is a developer of role-play simulations designed to prepare people to lead conversations in real life that result in measurable improvements in social, emotional and physical health. Kognito’s suite of mental health simulations for PK-12, higher education, primary care and acute care settings has been utilized by over 500 organizations. Its higher education programs are also listed in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. Learn more at

For more about counseling services at the University of Alaska Southeast, visit the UAS Counseling Website.

Press Release Contact

Keni Campbell
University of Alaska Southeast
(907) 796-6509