The BIG Act

Talking Points for Calls & E-mails


Phone Calls

Instructions:

  • Phone Number
    To contact your Senator, please call the Congressional switchboard, and they can direct you to their office.
    Congressional Switchboard: 202-224-3121   
  • Find your Senator
    If you are unsure of who your Senators are, you can look them up at www.senate.gov and use the “Find your Senators” bar at the top of the webpage. Click on this, and it will have a list of states. Scroll to your state, click, and it will redirect you to a page with your Senator’s personal office contact information.

Make the Call:

Overview:
Your call matters! Congressional offices actively track and log the calls they receive from constituents and give daily reports to the office’s senior staff and the Member.

When calling, stay relaxed and keep the conversation light! The odds are the person answering the phone is either an assistant akin to a receptionist or an intern. Furthermore, they are not policy experts, so do not assume they understand what you are talking about. Remember to speak slowly.

Introduce yourself:

  • Name
  • Title, if applicable
  • School you represent, if applicable
  • Home city

Ask them a polite question about themselves. These staffers answer hundreds of calls a day and routinely get yelled at . . . a lot.

Sample questions:

  • Are you from the State?
    • If so, ask them what part?
  • If you know the area they are from, ask them about a favorite local restaurant or about a local sports team.
  • How long have you been with the office?
  • If they are an intern, ask them where they go to school?

Reason for calling today: To request the Senator cosponsor the BIG Act S. 1383

Talking points: 

  • The BIG Act is critical legislation for student support and safety as 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 be provided to higher education and K-12 schools to assist them in implementing the best practices.
  • Mention any schools in the district or state that have BIT teams.
    • The BIG Act recently passed the House by 324 votes!
  • Share your story: Explain why you believe BITs are essential and why you think they should be available in schools.
  • Remind them there is no cost associated with passing this bill.
  • The BIG Act recently passed the House by voice vote
  • The BIG Act in the Senate is a bi-partisan bill and is being co-led by Sen. Angus King of Maine and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas

Ask: Will the Senator help constituents like you, and the others in your local community they represent, by cosponsoring the BIG Act S. 1383

Note: If they have any questions about the bill or want to cosponsor, they can reach out to:

Thank the office for their time and taking your call.


Email

Senators has a dedicated email page for constituents to use, and they are actively monitored. In fact, every Senator has a member(s) of their staff whose main job is to respond to all incoming emails. Furthermore, the senior staff track what the incoming emails are about and brief the Senator at least weekly.

Instructions:

To locate your Senator’s constituent email:

  • Go to their website
  • At the top bar you will see the word Contact
  • Select the option and a drop-down menu should appear
  • Follow the instructions for submission

*You will send the email through the website instead of your traditional email box 

See sample email below

Sample Email:

Dear Senator (Last Name),

My name is XXXXXX from (your title and school you work for or represent) or (city you are from), and as a constituent I am writing on behalf of The National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment (NABITA). We are a national association of over 1,800 schools and universities dedicated to improving school climate through creating Behavioral Intervention Teams.  

I am reaching out today to urge you to please support and cosponsor the BIG Act, S. 1383, a bi-partisan bill being led by Sen. Agnus King and Sen. John Cornyn.

The BIG Act will help schools across the nation implement life-saving programs to ensure our students stay safe, healthy, and successful by connecting experts who develop and implement behavioral intervention programs with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and other federal agencies, which in return helps spread the best behavioral intervention practices throughout the country.

This critical bill will provide a best practices framework for schools across the nation to establish Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITs), which are small teams of trained school professionals, mandate that schools receive training in BIT best practices, and require technical assistance to be provided to higher education and K-12 schools for implementation. Furthermore, the BITs will provide a launching pad for implementing a solution in schools that helps administrators offer safety and support to students without a significant impact on their limited budgets.

As (insert your title), I can personally attest to how value these BITs are. They have made a real difference in my school and the children that they help.

Given you have NABITA Behavioral Intervention Teams at colleges and schools in (insert state and list schools), we feel it is important for you to support this legislation and cosponsor the bill. 

Thank you for your consideration!

P.S. The House passed the BIG Act by 324 votes!

Name
Title and School
City
Email
Social Media


Social Media

For those who are inclined to reach out Senators via social media platforms such as Twitter below you will find some sample posting. Please remember when posting to use your personal accounts and not the accounts associated with your institutions. If there is an opportunity to use your institution’s account, please reach out to the NABITA offices first. Remember, social media posts should be short (no more than 240 characters), direct, and provide essential details like the bill number.

Furthermore, when posting a tweet directed at a Senator, please include the @ symbol along with the Senator’s twitter handle all as one word followed by your message, for example @SenToomey. NABITA has listed all the Senators twitter handles for your convenience on the activation site. Once you have composed your message, please in also in the following handles @JohnCornyn, @SenAngusKing and the hashtags listed below.

#USSenate
#MentalHealthAwareness
#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth
#MentalHealth
#MentalHealthMatters

Sample Tweet:

@SenToomey Please cosponsor S. 1383 The BIG Act! This is critical legislation for student mental support and safety in schools. @JohnCornyn @SenAngusKing #USSenate #MentalHealthAwareness #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #MentalHealth #MentalHealthMatters

Remember, when crafting your own personized messages that tagging the Senators handles and including of the hashtags are vial.