Is your school staff worried about particular students? Does your staff struggle with how to approach students?

Through federal funds, the Illinois Department of Public Health is able to offer free online training simulationsfor middle and high school personnel to learn to recognize signs of psychological distress and connect students to support services.

In this unique, virtual practice environment, users learn by engaging in interactive role-play conversations with emotionally responsive student avatars. Users can pause and revisit the training as many times as they need to feel confident identifying, approaching, and referring students exhibiting signs of psychological distress. Three courses are available:

  • At-Risk for Middle School Educators (overview)
  • At-Risk for High School Educators (overview)
  • Step In Speak Up! – Supporting LGBTQ Students (overview)
  • CPDUs and CEUs (social workers and nurses) are available.
  • At-Risk trainings meet the school code requirement for school personnel to be trained in identifying the warning signs of mental illness and suicidal behavior. After completing the training, remember to print your certificate of completion.
  • Of the 2,101 Illinois middle and high school personnel who recently completed the At-Risk training, 88% had no previous training in suicide prevention.
  • Three months after attending an At-Risk training, middle and high school personnel had referred, on average, 3 students for mental health support services.


For more information on the available trainings, or how schools are utilizing the trainings, please contact:

Jennifer L. Martin, MSW

Suicide Prevention Project Manager

Illinois Department of Public Health

Phone: (217) 558-4081