Dr. Kerri AshurstDr. Kerri Ashurst, Senior Extension Specialist in Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, recently became the first Kentucky Extension professional to complete the CAPE Community Behavioral Health Training offered in partnership by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Dr. Ashurst was one of 12 Extension professionals nationwide selected as a member of the second cohort for this new training program.  The Community Behavioral Health Training has two primary objectives: 1) enhance participant’s mental health literacy and capacity to serve; and 2) enhance participant capacity to initiate and sustain local efforts focused on mental health challenges.

Dr. Ashurst envisions several opportunities to utilize her knowledge in her role as an Extension specialist. First and foremost, she plans to provide greater access to resources and training related to mental health awareness for county Extension agents in Kentucky. In addition, Dr. Ashurst is working with others in the School of Human Environmental Sciences to plan the 2018 Kentucky Family Impact Seminar with a focus on mental health. Held annually, the Family Impact Seminar provides a forum for the Kentucky legislators to gain knowledge regarding the seminar’s focus issue.

For Dr. Ashurst, the training program was a perfect fit for her academic training in couples and family therapy. She remarked, “Being a part of the CAPE training cohort helped me to connect the dots between my academic background and how I can help agents, legislators and others to better understand mental health issues and needs in our state.”

Congratulations to Dr. Kerri Ashurst on her selection to and completion of this national training program.

Author: Kim Henken
Terms: FCS