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Member Spotlight: Joseph Contes

What is a challenge you face doing behavioral intervention work?

Academic affairs buy-in and university duplication of services confuses campus partners.

What is a successful achievement you have had doing BIT work?

Our referrals are continually increasing. In spring 2021 our office has seen a 31% increase in the number of referrals compared to Spring 2020. The increase in numbers also shows an increase in early intervention reporting. Meaning our office, compared to last year, are receiving referrals earlier and less severe in terms of acuity but conversely, these case are more complex in terms of intersectional life domain stressors.

Why did you become a BIT member?

I became a BIT member to provide students, in need of support, hope to increase their reliance and increase their success rate.

How does having a BIT/CARE team increase your school safety/ability to provide student support?

Having a BIT team helps centralize the risk managing of student safety/concern issues. It is the entire university’s responsibility to be the support but the management of the needs has to be centralized. When this process is decentralized chaos, duplication, and in some cases the bystander effect can happen.

How has NABITA helped you to be a better professional?

I entered the EDU Case management field with over 10 years of community mental health experience. While this training lends itself to understanding the mental health needs of the college student, NABITA has helped me bridge the gap between the community mental health world and the higher ed world. NABITA helped me round myself as a functional member of my university. NABITA helps me continue to understand the various nuances of my institution.

What is one way you practice self-care doing such intense work?

EATING… LOL. I practice self-care through trying new foods, experimenting with new cooking and baking recipes. I also implement strong boundaries, especially, while remote working. When 430pm HIT my computer is shut down and I implement auto relies and do not disturb features on my devices for work-related accounts.

What is one piece of advice you would offer your fellow practitioners?

Never panic or respond to an issue with anxiety. The work will always be there. You are only one person. As a BIT member, your university officials see you as a beacon. If you present stressed or worried they will respond 10x that. Approaching a crisis situation with anxieties is like “trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum”-Baz Lurhmann.

How has having a BIT/CARE team improved the experience of students, staff, and faculty at your institution?

Faculty and staff have shared that having our case management and BIT team is a relief. Our students have expressed gratitude for our support.

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