Online mental health gatekeeper training for students, faculty, and staff

Project Title: On-line mental health gatekeeper training for students, faculty, and staff

Project Lead’s Name: Kip Alishio


Phone: (513) 523-2013

Please Choose the Primary Affiliation: SAF

Are There Other Project Team Members?: Yes

Other Project Team Member: Gwen Fears

Other Team Member Email Address:

Brief description of project: We are requesting funding to help us implement and extend mental health gatekeeper training to all students, faculty, and staff on campus so that they can develop the competency and confidence to know when a student may be experiencing thoughts of suicide or otherwise be a risk to themselves or others due to a mental health condition.

Does this project focus on graduate student education or graduate student life?: Yes

If yes, please explain: ALL students, whether undergraduate or graduate, are encouraged to complete mental health gatekeeper training. Service records show that graduate students actually seek out mental health services in larger percentages than undergraduates and are at least as vulnerable to suicide if not more so.

Describe the problem you are attempting to solve and your approach for solving that problem.: It has been well documented that college students' mental health has decreased in the past decade or more. For example, the percentage of college students who report having suicidal ideation and making a plan to commit suicide have both doubled since 2007. The most effective means of preventing suicide is early identification and intervention. With the help of a now expired federal grant, the Student Counseling Service purchased an evidence based, engaging, avatar-based on-line gatekeeper training program--one version for students and another version for faculty and staff--which teaches and provides practice in how to identify students who may be struggling with suicidal ideation, how to intervene with the student effectively, and how to refer to professional assistance. Over the past three years, this program has been implemented and over 700 faculty and staff have completed it and over 7,000 students have completed it. Most notably, this program has been integrated into the UNV 101 course, taken by over half of all first year students in the past two years. With the expiration of the federal grant, SCS cannot immediately afford the annual fee for this program and is requesting assistance until a viable long term funding source can be identified.

The criteria state that technology fee projects should benefit students in innovative and/or significant ways. How would you describe the innovation and/or significance of your project?: Delivering effective mental health gatekeeper training to 18000 students and over 2000 faculty and staff is a daunting task and actually cannot be achieved in person with the limited staff of the SCS. The innovative on-line gatekeeper training program called atRisk by the company Kognito provides a means of delivering this training opportunity to all students, faculty, and staff as they can easily sign into the training module, complete it at their own pace and time--it takes 30-45 minutes to complete either version--and actually be able to return to it whenever they need it, e.g. when they encounter a friend or student who seems to be at risk, so they can refresh their skills as they plan an intervention with the student. This program has now been incorporated also into the annual training for the Office of Residence Life staff--including all RA's.

How will you assess the project?: We actually have been required to evaluate this project by the federal grant mandate, and have data showing that it is effective. The Kognito company has built into the program an evaluation component that all who complete the training complete. These data consistently show significant increases in competency and confidence by completers in being able to identify a student struggling with a mental health concern, intervening with the student, and referring to professional assistance. This project will continue to utilize these assessment methods.

Have you applied for and/or received Tech Fee awards in past years?: Yes

If funded, what results did you achieve?: One of us (Alishio) received Tech Fee award in 2016 for notebooks to facilitate the intake process for student clients at the Student Counseling Service. We received funding for 6 new machines and they are working great: there are never waits now for students to fill out necessary forms and the overall intake process has been significantly shortened. Thank you!

Did you submit a final report?: No

What happens to the project in year two and beyond? Will there be any ongoing costs such as software or hardware maintenance, supplies, staffing, etc.? How will these be funded?: Yes, there will be annual subscription fees to maintain unlimited access to atRisk through the Kognito company. We are working with the Dean of Students Office and VP of SAF to create an on-going funding source for this project.

Budget: Contractual Services/Installation/Shipping/Maintenance

Contractual Services/Installation/Shipping/Maintenance: Contractual services with Kognito Corporation

Contractual Services, etc. Costs: $11,375.00

What is the total budget amount requested?: $11,375.00

Comments: Note that this unlimited purchase provides access to atRisk on-line for all Miami students, faculty, and staff regardless of campus or location--including Luxembourg. Also, Gwen Fears is a co-sponsor of this request in her role as co-coordinator of the UNV101 course which has been taken by more than half of all first year students the past two years and is expected to enroll even greater numbers of first year students in future. Gwen has outcome data from that course demonstrating the importance of atRisk in building a sense of personal and community responsibility among course completers and values atRisk as a core experience of the course.