KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., May 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment (NABITA) is excited to announce that a key piece of legislation, the BIG Act (Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act H.R. 2877) passed in the US House of Representatives yesterday. The release can be found here.
The BIG Act is critical legislation for student support and safety. It will require the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide best practices for schools to establish Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITs), will mandate that schools receive training in BIT best practices, and require technical assistance to be provided to higher education and K-12 schools to assist them in implementing these best practices.
The BIG Act will help to establish behavioral intervention teams comprised of small groups of school officials who meet regularly to review concerning information about at-risk students and develop plans to assist them.
The fact that the act was passed in May is no coincidence: May was first introduced as mental health awareness month in 1949 to raise awareness and provide support to individuals in need.
Sponsored in the House by Rep. Drew Ferguson (GA-3-R) with Rep. Michael Burgess (TX-26-R), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20-D), and Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52-D), the Act received overwhelming bi-partisan support.
The BIG Act will also help to connect experts who develop and implement behavioral intervention programs with SAMHSA and other federal agencies, which in return helps to promote the most effective behavioral intervention practices throughout the country.
“The passage of the BIG Act in the House is the first step in providing much needed support to our members as they prepare for a return to campus after over a year of pandemic related concerns, racial trauma, and increased mental health issues,” stated Makenzie Schiemann, M.S., President of NABITA.
Commenting on the passage of the Act in the US House, Aaron “Chip” Reese, Ed.D., the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at Columbus State University and a NABITA Advisory Board member stated, “The passing of the BIG Act is an exciting step towards acknowledging that mental health support needs to be offered in our schools and colleges. This will greatly assist students who are in crisis to get back on track and while also making our campuses safer. This Act provides a strong start to that effort.”
The Act’s Senate counterpart, (S.1383) has been introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (TX-R) and Sen. Angus King (ME-I). NABITA encourages all senators to embrace the spirit of Mental Health Awareness month, take up the mantle set by the House, and deliver the BIG Act to the President’s desk.
The National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment is committed to making our campuses, schools, and workplaces safer environments by fostering and encouraging development, education, and caring intervention. As the leading organization in the field of behavioral intervention teams (BITs), threat assessment, and case management, NABITA provides education, best practice recommendations, and ongoing professional development through an annual conference, multiple certification training opportunities yearly, and a weekly newsletter. NABITA serves as a best practices clearinghouse for 2,000 members by providing BIT and case management-related model policies, training tools, and templates. For more information, visit www.nabita.org
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