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Tip of the Week: Implementing the NABITA Standards for BITs (Part XIII)

NABITA membership has more than doubled over the last year. To help new members implement the NABITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITs), and to provide continuing members with a refresher, NABITA is launching a Tip of the Week series specifically focused on the BIT Standards. Twenty standards, twenty Tip of the Weeks (maybe more) aimed specifically at the practical application of the BIT Standards (Note: the twenty Tips may not be published consecutively so that NABITA can bring you timely updates regarding other topics).

Standard 14. Advertising and Marketing: Teams market their services, as well as educate and train their communities about what and how to report to the BIT, through marketing campaigns, websites, logos, and educational sessions.

BITs should have a marketing plan that reaches all the members of the community through both active efforts (i.e., presentations, orientation programs, tabling events) and passive efforts (e.g., website, posters, brochures). Marketing and advertising the BIT is an ongoing endeavor, not something that is completed and then shelved until the start of the next academic year. When evaluating an advertising or marketing idea, consider the following questions:

  1. Who are/should be BIT referral sources?
  2. What does this specific audience need to know about the BIT?
  3. What is the best way to reach them?
  4. How do I get them to participate?

In addition to advertising the BIT to the whole community, training specific departments or groups on the importance of reporting can double as advertising, increasing referrals and strengthening trust in your team. Nurturing the referral source is a key component to establishing trust in the process and may increase the likelihood of future referrals. To build on that trust, after a report has been made, the referral source should receive a simple (even automated) message from the BIT. This will reassure the referral source the BIT is taking prompt, appropriate, and competent action. Additionally, an effective practice would be to assign a member of the BIT to follow up with reports and let the referral source know when the BIT has engaged/concluded its action, even if by form email. Keeping the referral source in the loop, even to a very limited degree, will help maintain that relationship and encourage future reporting.

Practical tip – “As CARE Teams/BITs are designed to identify early indicators of escalating and concerning behaviors, they are often able to identify and intervene before threats are formalized.”[1] Educational and/or awareness programs should focus on the wide range of distress indicators — the academic, emotional, behavioral, and physical indicators (e.g., argumentative behavior, hardened language, chronic fatigue, dramatic weight loss). Community members may explain away or dismiss lower-level odd or concerning behavior(s) if they believe the BIT is only focused on immediate crises and threats. Additionally, community members may also dismiss concerns if they are otherwise unsure of what to refer to the BIT. However, when these lower-level behaviors are referred to the BIT, the team often has a longer runway to connect an individual of concern to necessary supports and avoid escalation. As such, educational and/or awareness programs should emphasize the wide range of concerning behavior that community members should report to the BIT.

NABITA has developed a “BIT Roadshow,” which is a “campus training template that teams can use to teach their community about the work of the team and about how to identify and refer students who may need help.” To access the Higher Ed edition, please click here. For the K – 12 edition, please click here.

Tim Cason, M.Ed.

Consultant, TNG

[1] NaBITA. (2018). NaBITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams [White paper]. Access here.