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Richardson, TX– September 17, 2015 – Vista College has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by Kognito, a leading provider and innovator of mental health and suicide prevention programs for higher education, for its outstanding performance in executing its mental health awareness program. The award acknowledges the college’s best practices and commitment to creating and sustaining a culture of support for students, primarily veterans, in the 2014-2015 school year.

Vista College launched Kognito’s Veterans on Campus Training in October 2014 on all of its campuses. To date, 333 staff and faculty have gone through the training – an online, interactive learning experience that helps faculty and staff in understanding the needs, experiences and cultural issues affecting student veterans. By engaging in role-play conversations with virtual student veterans, users get hands-on experience managing challenging conversations, gain important skills in recognizing signs of psychological distress and learn how to connect students to appropriate resources.

“We have found Kognito’s program to be a valuable training tool for all of our staff and faculty and are thrilled to receive this honor,” said Jim Tolbert, CEO of Vista College. “A significant number of our students are veterans transitioning to civilian and student life. This often presents unique challenges for them including isolation, academic difficulties, and mental health issues such as depression, PTSD and traumatic brain injury.   We began utilizing this training at Vista College because we wanted to better understand the perspective of these students and create a helpful and supportive environment. This program has been embraced by staff and faculty as a wonderful tool to identify students in need of assistance. We have seen its results among our students as they have been directed to appropriate resources for assistance. Additionally, the program has also proven useful for non-veteran students who might be in need.”

A recent national study by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that 31.6% of college students felt so depressed that it was difficult to function. As a result, many colleges and universities are proactively training staff and faculty, as well as students, how to support such students. This award recognizes Vista College’s ability to engage an exceptional number of people within its community in the training.

“Vista College has demonstrated the heart, commitment and drive to truly create a campus-wide culture that’s skilled and supportive for students who may be suffering from mental distress,” said Lori Janjigian, VP Client Services at Kognito. “They are dedicated to not only creating such an atmosphere, but also sustaining it.”

Vista College offers a wide variety of career training programs throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, and online. Each career program is staffed with industry experts and leading professionals, ensuring students an affordable, quality education that will help them pursue successful careers in their chosen fields. Financial aid is available for those that qualify. Graduates benefit from Vista’s career services assistance, which includes resume preparation and interview coaching.

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