Behavioral Health Aide Program

Behavioral Health Aide Program

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. The program prioritizes the well-being and emotional, physical, spiritual, family, social, and cultural health of individuals and their families within their home communities. 

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.

Goals of the BHA Program

  • Develop services focused on prevention, early intervention and case management;
  • Increase the capacity for teamwork with providers already in the villages;
  • Reduce outpatient, emergency, and inpatient workload and costs;
  • Reduce long-term chronic health problems and disruptions to family and community.

Becoming a Certified BHA                    

  • You must be employed by Indian Health Services, a Tribe or Tribal Health organization, such as KANA, 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 supervisor to determine which matrix is most appropriate for you to help develop a training plan
  • Complete certification requirements and application for certification and submit to CHAP Certification Board.

Behavioral Health Aide Certification

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:

  • Complete Community Health Aide Program Certification Board-specified training, practicum and work experiences
  • Gain the scope of knowledge and skills to support them in their job duties
  • Provide a broad range of services under varying levels of clinical supervision, including general
  • Maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits

Behavioral Health Aide Handbook

The BHA handbook was created to provide fundamental information of the BHA program structure, training (options, opportunities, requirements), scope of practice and certification process.

The handbook is divided into six sections:

  • Program history and implementation
  • Foundations of BHA practice
  • Tools for implementation
  • Partnering and participating in BHA training
  • Certification checklists
  • Applications for certification


To find the Behavioral Health Aide in your community, contact us.