The Behavioral Health Aide (BHA) Program is designed to promote behavioral health and wellness in Alaska Native individuals, families and communities through culturally relevant training and education for village-based counselors.
We all know that good physical health is important for a healthy, happy life. Equally vital, yet sometimes ignored or misunderstood, is a person’s behavioral health and wellness. The BHA program works with partners across the state to provide education and assistance for Behavioral Health Aides, clinical supervisors and directors who provide much-needed, community-based behavioral health and wellness services. Additionally, the program offers partners technical assistance to better understand and implement a BHA program in primary care settings and other community-based services.
The program also trains new BHAs and supports current BHAs by providing resources, materials and guidance that can be used to enhance training and services, and by recognizing the knowledge and skills of BHAs through certification by the Community Health Aide Program Certification Board.
What is a Behavioral Health Aide?
A Behavioral Health Aide (BHA) is a counselor, health educator, and advocate. BHAs help address individual and community-based behavioral health needs, including those related to alcohol, drug and tobacco abuse as well as mental health problems such as grief, depression, suicide, and related issues. BHAs seek to achieve balance in the community by integrating their sensitivity to cultural needs with specialized training in behavioral health concerns and approaches to treatment.
Becoming a Certified BHA
Behavioral Health Aide Certification
- Individuals must be employed by Indian Health Services, a Tribe or Tribal Health organization that operates a community health aide program
- Review application materials and the specialized training matrix on CHAP Certification Board website to learn more about the requirements for BHA/P certification.
- Work with clinical supervisor to determine which matrix is most appropriate to help develop a training plan
- Complete certification requirements and application for certification and submit to CHAP Certification Board.
Behavioral Health Aide certification is a multi-level provider model which includes BHA Trainee (non-certified), BHA levels I, II, and III, and BH Practitioner (BHP). To become a certified BHA or BHP, individuals must:
Behavioral Health Aide Training and Technical Assistance
- Complete Community Health Aide Program Certification Board-specified training, practicum and work experience
- Meet the requirements of the Knowledge and Skills Checklist to demonstrate sufficient training and experience to provide service within a specified scope of practice
- Provide a broad range of services under the supervision of a Masters level clinician
- Maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits
To support BHA’s efforts to become certified, a variety of distance-delivered, in-person and blended training options have been developed. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
regarding the following training opportunities:
- Iḷisaġvik Tribal College BHA AAS Degree Program (distance-delivered)
- ANTHC courses by BHA certification level (distance-delivered)
- BHA Training Intensives – One-week, in-person training, meeting some training needs for BHA certification
- State Plan Amendment (SPA) Training – in-person workshop focused on how certified BHAs can provide, document, bill and be reimbursed for specific services. For details on the services that can be provided, please reference the State of Alaska Tribal Billing Manual: http://manuals.medicaidalaska.com/tribal/tribal.htm
- BHA Forum – in-person training that offers continuing education opportunities for BHAs and BHA supervisors. Training focuses on best practices and hot topics related to the rural behavioral health providers’ scope of practice.