Mental health counselling benefits
If you're experiencing emotional distress and want to talk, call the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca. It's toll-free and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or the number for emergency services in your community.
Learn about the coverage available for mental health counselling under the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program.
Counselling, as well as cultural and emotional support, is also available through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program for eligible former students and their families.
About mental health counselling benefits
The program covers mental health counselling to provide support for an immediate mental health need. This is part of federal mental wellness programs for First Nations and Inuit. These programs are linked to services provided by communities, provinces and territories.
The program provides eligible clients with coverage for benefits not available under other federal, provincial, territorial or private health insurance.
How to access mental health counselling benefits
The program provides coverage for an initial assessment, followed by up to 20 counselling sessions. For more information on specific benefit policies and requirements, refer to the Guide to Mental Health Counselling Services.
Eligible mental health providers include:
- psychologists and social workers with clinical counselling orientation
- mental health counsellors with education and training similar to psychologists or social workers
Only services delivered by a professional enrolled with the program are eligible for reimbursement. Providers who are not enrolled, but may be eligible to do so, are encouraged to enroll with the program.
Providers who are enrolled with the program generally send in claims to bill the program directly. This means that you do not have to pay any deductibles or co-payments. You will need to show client identification in order for providers to bill the program directly.
What is covered
Every 12 months, an eligible client can receive up to 22 hours of counselling performed by an enrolled provider on a fee-for-service basis (such as, individual, family or group counselling). Additional hours in the same 12 month period may be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Who can provide mental health counselling
To be enrolled, providers must be registered in good standing with a legislated professional regulatory body and eligible for independent practice in the province or territory in which the service is being provided. This may include the following types of providers:
- registered psychologists
- registered social workers with clinical counselling orientation
- registered psychiatric nurses
- registered psychotherapists
- other regulated mental health providers permitted to practice by legislation