The College of Public Health received a three-year $306,000 federal grant to provide mental health awareness training to Kent State faculty and staff.

The Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant is helping to fund a project called More Aware. The More Aware Initiative is offering Kognito training for faculty and staff.

Kognito is a free, interactive role-play simulation. According to the Division of Mental Health and Substance Use (DMHSU) website, “through the use of avatars, trainees will engage in conversations with virtual people who have memory, emotion, and can respond realistically. These simulated conversations will allow trainees to increase their confidence in recognizing symptoms of distress.”

This training allows faculty and staff to better assist students who are experiencing mental health issues causing students to be in crisis or at-risk for suicide, said Deric Kenne, Associate Director of DMHSU in an email.

Kim Laurene, Research and Programming Associate for DMHSU says one reason the training is important is because of how common mental illnesses are.

“It's important for everybody to be educated about mental illness so that they can recognize signs and symptoms in other people,” Laurene said, “and assist those people with getting right resources if needed to help them."

There are also classes students can participate in. Students can take the Mental Health First Aid class, which is an eight-hour in-person class. They can also participate in the one-hour online, self-guided course QPR (question, persuade and refer) Training, Laurene said.

Faculty and staff who complete the training will receive one hour of Beyond Compliance credit.

To access Kognito training, faculty and staff can visit https://kognitocampus.com/.

Rachel Hale is the engagement editor. Contact her at rhale11@kent.edu.

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