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 NAMI Idaho's Better Todays (formerly Red Flags) Program Alerts Gatekeepers and Caregivers for Early Warning Signs of Mental Illness in Children

Idaho's Better Todays, Better Tomorrows (formerly Red Flags Idaho) is a program designed to help adult caregivers and gatekeepers identify emotional and behavioral problems school-age children to ensure they receive care in a timely and appropriate way.

The program is provided by Idaho State University's Institute of Rural Health in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Idaho Chapter, and the Idaho Governor's Generation of the Child Initiative. Others supporting the project include the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the NIMH Constituency Outreach Program and Telehealth Idaho.

Why Better Todays?
Too often, the emotional and behavioral problems of a child or teen can destabilize the family and put all members at risk financially and as a family unit. Better Todays is designed to help parents avoid these risks. This program shows parents, teachers, school counselors and nurses, police, juvenile corrections staff, foster parents, community volunteers and others who care for children the signs and symptoms of mental illness in children – and gives them the tools to get the help a child needs.

Goals of Better Todays are 1) raise awareness about mental disorders in children and youth; 2) reduce stigma about mental illness; and 3)Increase treatment-seeking by adults on behalf of the children in their care. In addition to covering signs and symptoms, the program also focuses on the impact of trauma on children and suicide prevention and intervention

How do I learn more about Better Todays?
For more information, or to request assistance outside Idaho, contact Better todays via email: or phone 208-562-8646. To mail, address materials to Ann Kirkwood, Director, Better Todays, Idaho State University Institute of Rural Health, 12301 W. Explorer Dr. #102, Boise, ID, 83713.

Information about Better Todays as well as handouts used in the program are available at: .

The National Alliance for Mentally Ill Position on Children’s Mental Health is available at

For additional information, contact:

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill,

Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health,

National Mental Health Association at

Research and Training Center, Portland State University,

What about school violence?
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has issued a report by Dr. David Fassler. “A Common Sense 10-point Plan to Address the Problem of School Violence” outlines steps parents and educators can take to reduce the chances of school violence. The causes behind recent events involving school violence are unique and complex and there are no simple solutions. The Academy’s 10-point plan offers common-sense steps that schools, communities and families can take to help keep our children safe. For access to the plan, contact the organization’s website at

Some of the indicators listed in the Academy’s plan are addressed in this Web site. Better Todays offers educators, health professionals and parents tools to identify these at-risk behaviors and early-onset brain disorders. It provides details about the “better todays” that signal mental health problems. Better Todays offers hope.

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