Educators / Mental Health in Schools
Red Flags is committed to school-based mental health education not only because mental illness is a serious health concern, but especially, because mental health is critical to learning and teaching. Red Flags is rooted in the principle that education is about guiding children’s physical and mental development so that they can flourish in their world and contribute to a just and vibrant society. As such the promotion of mental health is fundamental to school infrastructure and children’s educational experience.
Red Flags is first and foremost a design for prevention that promotes:
Red Flags is designed for schools for the following reasons:
After nearly 20 years of development and implementation, Red Flags is living proof that mental health education can be:
To assure the maximum impact of Red Flags the following elements must be implemented:
Consequently: Red Flags is much, much more than a suicide prevention program, although, unfortunately, a crisis too often prompts its adoption. Suicide prevention programs save lives. The necessary and beneficial knowledge suicide prevention programs impart belongs in the safety toolbox of everyone at the school. But suicide prevention is not enough. If used as the sole approach to mental health in schools, suicide prevention risks perpetuating a reactive attitude to mental illness that fixes focus at the crisis end of the spectrum.
Mental illnesses are disorders of the brain, and just like physical disorders are most successfully treated at onset. The goal of Red Flags is to encourage the development of sound mental health habits and enable quick intervention at the first warning signs of difficulty, just as we do for other illnesses.