Free Mental Health Counselling Coverage for First Nations and Inuit

With a Status Card, you may be eligible for therapy paid for by the NIHB program.

If you are First Nation or Inuk, the Canadian government, through Indigenous Services Canada, may cover costs for up to 22 hours per year of mental health counselling through a program called NIHB (Non-Insured Health Benefits). That means there could be relief in sight for anxiety, trauma, depression and other concerns.

You can access these benefits from an eligible provider. As a mental health agency of registered social workers and psychotherapists, The Family Enhancement Centre (TFEC) qualifies as an eligible provider. 

The Centre offers counselling throughout an individual’s entire lifecycle. The free counselling is available to eligible First Nations and Inuit:

  • Children
  • Teens
  • Young adults
  • Singles
  • Couples
  • Parents
  • Co-Parents
  • Spouses
  • Families

Issues can include:

  • Relationship changes
  • Separation
  • Divorce
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma/PTSD
  • Grief
  • Troubling memories
  • Thoughts of harming self or others

Counselling takes place both in person in TFEC’s Brampton and Mississauga offices, and remotely via secure, online web meeting. Counselling is available anywhere in Ontario that has an internet or phone connection. Our counsellors also facilitate classes via remote online connection. If you take a class, it’s costs could also be covered.

Talk to us about customizing a class to your group. 

What About Privacy?

Many people are concerned about privacy but usually find creative ways to find quiet spaces away from other people. Often community centres, libraries or band offices are happy to make internet-enabled meeting rooms available.

Eligibility for Free Counselling for First Nations and Inuit
Eligibility is officially defined by the government of Canada as follows:

  • “A First Nations registered under the Indian Act.” Proof of eligibility is your Status Card. 
  • “Inuk recognized by an Inuit land claim organization.” Proof of eligibility is land claim documentation.
  • First Nations or Inuit child up to 18 months of age.

What can TFEC do for a First Nations or Inuk client?
If you are First Nations or Inuk, The Family Enhancement Centre can validate eligibility and handle the claims process for you as we are experienced with the complexities of dealing with government agencies. You, and possibly your dependents are likely eligible if you have a Status Card. If you do not have one, the government of Canada suggests obtaining one to preserve NIHB and other benefits.

You do not have to be out of pocket for any fees as TFEC will process claims directly with NIHB. Please reach out to us and one of our client intake specialists will gladly explain the process and answer any questions. Our aim is to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible.

Eligible clients can receive up to 22 hours of counselling per year. In some cases, those hours can be extended. This allotment of time recognizes that healing of trauma and treatment of mental health issues requires ongoing engagement and support.

Our counsellors are registered psychotherapists and registered social workers with varying specialties, including:

  • Trauma Processing
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Play Therapy
  • Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Solution Focused Therapy
  • Critical Incident Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Grief Counselling
  • Anger Management

What these approaches share in common is a thoughtful, compassionate counsellor working in partnership with you to develop a course of therapy that best suits your needs.

What kind of counselling is covered? The government is not specific; however, your counselling experience is an ongoing partnership between you and the therapist. TFEC carefully works to match a counsellor to your needs. “The mental health counselling benefit operates as part of a continuum of mental wellness programs provided by Indigenous Services Canada.”

Are mental health counselling costs under NIHB covered for all who identify as First Nations?

It is not enough to identify as First Nations. The government of Canada’s criteria are that you must be registered under the Indian Act.

Are mental health counselling costs under NIHB covered for all who identify as Inuk?

It is not enough to identify as Inuk. The government of Canada requires documentation that you are registered under an Inuit land claims organization.

If I am first Nation or Inuk, when could I begin free counselling sessions?

Almost immediately. As a private mental health agency, we have no waiting lists. Help is just a phone call or an email away. We take care of the rest.