NM Department Of Health Trains Teachers To Recognize Suicide Risk

Sep 10, 2013

The New Mexico Department of Health’s Office of School and Adolescent Health has launched a partnership with New York City-based Kognito Interactive to educate high school teachers on how to recognize signs of depression and other mental health disorders that have the potential to lead to low academic achievement, violence or even suicide.

At-Risk for High School Educators is an hour-long, online training program where teachers, administrators and staff learn to recognize and help when a student’s behavior and appearance may be a sign of psychological distress, such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse. 

“Educators interact with students on a daily basis and can be the first step toward early treatment,” said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Helping students understand that there are resources available to deal with depression is imperative.”

The interactive training promotes prevention and early intervention strategies that support student mental health and academic success. When equipped with the appropriate knowledge about how to handle sensitive situations and the value of counseling or psychological services, teachers and staff have a better chance of success in connecting the student with help.

"At-Risk simulations are the first online trainings available to provide realistic and risk-free role-play exercises in identifying, speaking with, and referring troubled youth," said Ron Goldman, co-founder and CEO of Kognito. "Developed with input from educators and some of the country's leading authorities on youth suicide prevention, At-Risk can help connect students to treatment early on which is critical to improving mental health outcomes."

At-Risk for High School Educators is one in a series of similar trainings by Kognito Interactive, many of which are listed in SAMHSA-funded SPRC/AFSP Best Practices Registry for suicide prevention programs ( Kognito’s At-Risk programs have gained broad acceptance and adoption since their debut in 2009. At-Risk programs for K-12 educators have been adopted by state health agencies and not-for-profits for statewide use in New York, Texas, Ohio, Arizona, California, North Dakota and Alaska. At-Risk programs for higher education have been adopted by over 400 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad.

Educators interested in the training can contact Nancy Kirkpatrick, New Mexico Department of Health Suicide Prevention Coordinator at to learn how to enroll.