Mental health counselling benefits for First Nations and Inuit

Hope for Wellness Help Line

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 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.

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About mental health counselling benefits

The program provides coverage for professional mental health counselling to complement other mental wellness services that may be available to clients or in communities. 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

You can access mental health counselling benefits from an eligible provider.

Providers enrolled with the program generally send claims to bill the program directly. Claims processing services are provided by Express Scripts Canada. Information can be found on the Express Scripts Canada NIHB provider and client website.

Claims cover costs that are eligible for reimbursement under the program as per established fee guides. You may also submit reimbursement requests yourself. See Client reimbursement for more information.

What is covered

Every calendar year, an eligible client can receive up to 22 hours of counselling performed by an eligible provider on a fee-for-service basis (such as, individual or group counselling). Additional hours in the same calendar year may be provided on a case-by-case basis.

For more information on specific benefit policies and requirements, refer to the Guide to Mental Health Counselling Benefits.

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:

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