We are sometimes asked by schools if Red Flags is evidenced based. The short answer is yes. A double-blind study commissioned by the Ohio Department of Mental Health in 2007 using both qualitative and quantitative data determined that Red Flags is effective in reducing stigma and increasing the number of students who ask for help with a mental health concern. Additionally, Red Flags is certainly evidence informed. That means its materials and process comply with numerous studies and recommendations for mental health programming in schools. The Center for School-based Mental Health Programs at Miami University, the Ohio Department of Education, and the Ohio Mental Health Network for School Success all recognize Red Flags as a promising program. In addition, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services accepts Red Flags for grants to schools implementing evidence-based programs.
If the question specifically asks whether Red Flags is listed in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices (NREPP), the answer is not yet, even though Red Flags meets the most recent NREPP submission requirements. Here’s where the answer requires a longer and more complicated explanation.
Prior to this year, the gold standard for certification as an evidence-based program (EBP) was through SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). The registry was established in 1997 and used an elaborate review process to determine which programs would meet its guidelines for acceptance into the registry. Realizing the benefit of being NREPP certified, Red Flags waited for almost two years starting in 2016 for the NREPP process to open. However, no new submissions were taken during this period.
Then in January of this year, the new Assistant Secretary for SAMHSA, Elinore McCance-Katz published a letter stating her strong dissatisfaction with the NREPP process, “For the ...