BHA/P Instructor Teri Forst, MS, LPC-S, MAC

Hello! My name is Teri Forst. I was born and raised in Bethel, Alaska but currently live in Juneau. As a child in Bethel, I watched many friends, family and community members suffer from addiction and mental health issues. This unique experience was what motivated me to seek a profession helping others. After graduating from Bethel Regional High School, I went on to obtain my Bachelor’s of Science in Health Sciences and Psychology at Boise State University. After four years away from the Alaskan scenery I returned to attend Alaska Pacific University where I obtained my Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology.

Following graduation, I remained in Anchorage and worked for a private practice as a Lead Intensive Outpatient treatment clinician. With my degree and experience under my belt, I felt I was ready to return to my hometown to give back to my community. I moved back to work for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) as both an Emergency Services Clinician and Intake Clinician.  This is where my interest in the Behavioral Health Aide program really grew. I supervised Behavioral Health Aides and on a daily basis saw what a crucial role they had in providing services to rural Alaskans. I was inspired by their intense passion to help community members despite the unique challenges they face as the sole providers. The integration of behavioral health into primary care is something I have always felt enthusiastic about, as I believe that in order to achieve health and wellness, we need to treat the whole person. So, after many years at YKHC I was given the opportunity to develop and implement an integrated behavioral health program into a primary care setting at the Bethel Family Clinic and couldn’t pass it up.

In 2016, my husband’s job transferred to Juneau and although I had to leave my hometown behind, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to stay involved with the Behavioral Health Aide Program. I became a contractor hired to develop distance Behavioral Health Aide courses. After eight months as a contractor creating three courses I now get to become a part-time Behavioral Health Aide instructor! I couldn’t be more excited to become a permanent part of the BHAP team and continue contributing to the success of rural Alaskans by helping to train and grow competent, passionate, and motivated Behavioral Health Aides. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time outdoors with my husband, our 9- month-old son and our 5 -year- old Bethel rescue mutt. We love to go boating, fishing, hiking, and biking to explore what nature has to offer in our beautiful state.