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Karen Kirkpatrick
Office Manager

Ph: (540) 464-7667
Fax: (540) 464-7025
Email Cadet Counseling

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Center for Cadet Counseling (CCC)
Virginia Military Institute
VMI Health Center
448 Institute Hill, 2nd Floor
Lexington, VA  24450

Suicide Prevention on Post

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students. The majority of college suicides occur among students who have not accessed counseling services. As part of a larger suicide prevention effort, VMI is committed to providing the Institute community with education on how to recognize, understand, and respond to cadets in crisis. It is believed that early identification and intervention is crucial when acting to mitigate risk and prevent a tragedy from happening here at VMI. Educating and empowering faculty and staff about how to recognize and effectively respond to cadets in distress is a vital component of our suicide prevention plan.

The VMI Suicide Prevention Plan is based upon the premise that, while we will never be able to eliminate suicide, we can provide specialized services to identify cadets at risk for suicide and to provide crisis and /or on-going mental health services upon referral.

If you would like to learn more about suicide on college campuses, click here

Gatekeeper Training:

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR): An hour program on how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. QPR is a simple educational program that teaches ordinary citizens how to recognize a mental health emergency and how to get a person at risk the help they need. It is also an action plan that can result in lives saved. Login and password information is available upon request. Please contact the Center for Cadet Counseling to access this information, 464-7667 or

At-Risk Training:

At-Risk For University Faculty is an online, interactive gatekeeper training simulation developed by Kognito and used at more than 100 campuses nationwide. Through a 45-minute avatar-based training, faculty learn the common indicators of psychological distress and how best to approach an at-risk cadet for referral to the Center for Cadet Counseling.

How it works

Learners engage in conversations with emotionally responsive student avatars who exhibit signs of psychological distress. In this process, they practice and learn to use open-ended questions, reflective listening and other motivational interviewing techniques to effectively:

  • Broach the topic of psychological distress
  • Discuss their concern with the cadet
  • Avoid common pitfalls such as attempting to diagnose the problem or giving unwarranted advice

Apart from early intervention, other benefits of the training implicitly relate to:

  • Increasing cadet retention and academic performance
  • Reducing the stigma associated with mental illness
  • Increasing visibility for Post mental health initiatives


A national study of Kognito At-Risk for University Faculty at 68 universities based on 420 participants who completed the training found a number of benefits, some of which include the following:

  • An increase in the number of students that faculty refer to the counseling center.
  • An increase in the likelihood that faculty members will approach and, if necessary, refer students exhibiting signs of psychological distress.

To view a short trailer about this course, click here:

To take the course, follow the instructions below:

At-Risk Training for Faculty & Staff

At-Risk Training for Cadets


If you experience any technical difficulties, please email

Other Helpful Resources:

Referral Referral Guide for VMI Faculty & Staff
Center for Cadet Counseling, 2013
recognizing and responding Recognizing & Responding to Students in Distress
A Faculty Handbook