Student organization helps prevent suicide

Active Minds is trying to educate students on preventing and responding to peers who may be considering suicide.

The Active Minds national chapter holds an online training course every year to promote awareness of mental health.

The Kognito Challenge is a virtual reality course where participants are introduced to a variety of characters coping with life problems, said Active Minds President and junior Chloe Allen.

“It shows you different scenarios, and you have to identify red flags and negative coping skills,” Allen said. “It helps you decide who is at risk and who is not.”

Not all negative behaviors are red flags, but it is important to realize which situations require attention, Allen said.

A lot of students may have been in a situation where a friend needed help, but they didn’t know how to handle the situation. The Kognito Challenge could help them figure out a way to respond to a friend in need, Allen said.

“(Once you click your response) it leads you into the conversation of how you suggest someone seek counseling in a caring and respectful way,” Allen said. “Even if you choose the wrong response, it plays the scenario out so you can see how someone might react.”

The challenge will help familiarize students with mental illness, said senior Evan Lott.

“(The Kognito Challenge) allows people who are blind to these kinds of illnesses to understand how to deal with others who deal with them on a daily basis,” Lott said. “Also, it puts these people in a situation where they can learn how to communicate more effectively with others that cope with mental illness.”

The Kognito Challenge will help prevent suicide and suicidal thoughts amongst students because it will give them the tools they need to communicate with one another about suicide, Martin said.

It will “help normalize getting help,” she said.

Sophomore Colton Mason said the challenge is beneficial, and he will try to take it.

“It’s a great idea,” Mason said. “I’ve known a lot of people that on paper had nothing wrong with them, but in real life scenarios they had trouble. I think it’s important for people to be able to realize those qualities in people.”

Those who complete the Kognito Challenge receive a national certificate stating that they have completed the course. Last year, 63 students at UNA completed the challenge. The course is not required for students to retake every year to remain certified, Allen said.

Anyone interested in taking this course will have until Oct. 7. This training course is free of charge and available to anyone. To complete this course, go to the Active Minds website

For more information on Active Minds, contact Chloe Allen at [email protected]