Students have suffered unprecedented mental health challenges during the pandemic. Virtual schooling has led to feelings of isolation and stress, and far too many families have lost a job or loved one. Supporting students’ mental health is key to helping them recover from COVID-19.
Congressman Peters co-introduced the BIG Act, to create behavioral intervention practices for schools to help those at risk of harming themselves or others. It invests in vital mental health resources for students to help them feel safe and protected.
Learn more about the bill in this April 27th piece by PR Newswire, posted below:
NABITA Applauds BIG Act Introduction
April 27th, 2021
The National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment (NABITA) is excited to announce a key piece of legislation has been proposed to increase the safety of our students nationwide.
Introduced in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act (BIG Act) requires the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop best practices for schools and higher education institutions. The BIG Act will help to establish behavioral intervention teams comprised of small groups of school officials who meet regularly to collect and review concerning information about at-risk community members and develop plans to assist them.
Sponsored in the House by Rep. Drew Ferguson (GA-3rd-R) with Rep. Michael Burgess (TX-26th-R), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20th-D), and Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52nd-D), and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. John Cornyn (TX-R) and Sen. Angus King (ME-I), the Act’s launch was announced today. Ferguson’s public statement can be found here.
The BIG Act will also help to connect experts who develop and implement behavioral intervention programs with the SAMHSA and other federal agencies, which in return helps to promote the most effective behavioral intervention practices throughout the country.
“As an organization that supports the practitioners who work every day to support their students and make their schools safer, we are excited by the resources this Act will represent to NABITA’s members,” stated Makenzie Schiemann, M.S., President of NABITA.
The BIG Act is critical legislation for student support and safety because it will provide best practices for schools to establish Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITs), 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.
According to Aaron “Chip” Reese, Ed.D., the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at Columbus State University and a NABITA Advisory Board member, “the BIG Act will be a gamechanger for student affairs professionals across the country because, I truly believe, it will provide a more holistic approach in our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of our campuses and our students.”