Mental Health

​​Health Benefits provides clients with access to counselling services from a qualified mental health provider. Counselling is a tool for individuals experiencing a difficult situation to resolve their emotional distress and enjoy greater wellness. Health Benefits administers coverage for mental health counselling through three programs:

  1. Mental Wellness and Counselling (MW&C);
  2. The Indian Residential School Resolution Health Support Program (IRS RHSP); and
  3. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Health Support Services (MMIWG HSS).

    Each program has its own eligibility criteria. All services require prior approval from Health Benefits. Services not listed as a benefit may be covered on an exceptional basis. Clients should call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454 to learn more about exceptional coverage.

Mental Wellness and Counselling

Mental Wellness and Counselling is designed to support clients who are in need of professional assistance to resolve emotional distress and enjoy greater wellness.

Mental Wellness and Counselling Coverage

Health Benefits provides the following counselling services through the MW&C program:

Service​Counselling HoursCoverage Period
Initial Assessment2 hours12 months
Counselling20 hours​​

Mental Wellness and Counselling Exclusions

Some services are considered exclusions under the MW&C program. Clients cannot seek exception or appeal for excluded items. MW&C Exclusions include, but are not limited to:

 ​Assessment services for issues such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, learning disabilities and child custody;

 Early intervention programs for infants with delayed development;

 Educational and vocational counselling, including psychoeducational assessments;

 Life skills training;

 Psychiatric emergencies for person(s) at risk of harm to self or others;

 Services funded by another program or agency, including psychiatric and family physician services through BC MSP;

 Services including: psychoanalysis, hypnotherapy, expressive arts therapy, and sex therapy;

 Services that are part of, or to be used for, legal actions including court-ordered assessments; and

​ ​Substance abuse counselling/therapy.

​Indian Residential School Resolution Health Support Program

The Indian Residential School Resolution Health Support Program (IRS RHSP) is a national program administered in BC through Health Benefits. Through the IRS RHSP, counselling is available to address mental distress and intergenerational trauma resulting from the legacy of the residential school system in Canada. Services are available for former students who attended a residential school listed in the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Services are also available to the family members of those students. First Nations and non-First Nations individuals are eligible for the program.

IRS RHSP Coverage

Health Benefits provides the following counselling services through the IRS RHSP:

Service​​Counselling HoursCoverage Period
Initial Assessment2 hours12 months
Counselling20 hours

IRS coverage is renewable as providers can request additional hours within the 12-month period.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Health Support Services

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Health Support Services (MMIWG HSS) is a national program administered in BC through Health Benefits. Counselling is available to address mental distress and trauma resulting from the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Services are available for survivors, family members, and others affected by the issue. First Nations and non-First Nations individuals are eligible for the program. The program will be in place until June 2020.​

MMIWG HSS Coverage

Health Benefits provides the following counselling services through the MMIWG Health Support Services:

Service​Counselling HoursCoverage Period
Initial Assessment2 hours12 months
Counselling20 hours

​IRS RHSP and MMIWG HSS Exclusions

Some services are considered exclusions under the mental health benefit. Clients cannot seek exception or appeal for excluded items. IRS RHSP and MMIWG HSS Exclusions include, but are not limited to:

• Accommodations and treatment fees for facility-based addictions treatment;

• Any service provided by a non-eligible provider;

• Psychiatric and family physician services insured through the BC MSP;

• Services for a purpose other than mental health counselling (e.g., psychoeducational; testing/assessments, educational and vocational counselling, life skills training, life coaching/mentoring, early intervention/enrichment programs, sex therapy);

• Services for the purpose of a third party (e.g., school application, employment assessment, to support legal action, child custody, etc.);

• Services funded by another program or agency (e.g., counselling provided to incarcerated clients, who have mental health coverage through the Provincial Health Services Agency); and

•​ Telehealth through instant messaging or emails.

Authorized Providers

Mental health counselling is provided by psychologists, social workers, and clinical counsellors who are registered with Health Benefits and have received training in cultural safety and humility. Search Health Benefits' list of registered mental health providers to find a provider, or contact Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.

Appeals

When coverage for a service has been denied, clients have the right to appeal the decision. Items and services that are Exclusions cannot be appealed. See the Appeals page for more information about the appeals process.​

Providers

Information and forms for mental health providers can be found on the Information for Health Providers page.​

Fact Sheet

For information on how to access mental health benefits check out the Mental Health Benefit Fact Sheet​. 

Additional Resources​

Travel for Mental Health Programs

Clients who require travel assistance to access counselling through the IRS (Indian Residential School) program or MMIWG Health Support Services please contact IRS.travel@fnha.ca or 1-877-477-0775.

Clients who require travel assistance to access counselling through the Mental Wellness and Counselling program, please contact Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454, or see the Medical Transportation​ webpage for more information.​

FNHA Mental Wellne​ss and Substance Use Webpage

The FNHA Mental Wellness and Substance Use program provides a number of useful resources and links for clients seeking additional information or support related to mental health, mental wellness, and substance use. Visit the webpage here.​

​KUU-US Crisis Services (24-hour Crisis Services)

The KUU-US Crisis line is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week – regardless of where clients live in BC. Clients in need can call any time and receive immediate assistance. For more information visit the KUU website

Toll Free: 1-800-KUU-US17 (1-800-588-8717)
Adult/Elder: 1-250-723-4050
Child/Youth: 1-250-723-2040
For more information about KUU-US, visit http://www.kuu-uscrisisline.ca/

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line and On-line Counselling Service

The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous people across Canada.

Toll-Free: 1-855-242-3310

Hope for Wellness Chat Line: www.hopeforwellness.ca

National Indian Residential School Crisis Line

Indigenous Services Canada offers a national Indian Residential School Crisis Line to support former Residential School students. The crisis line provides emotional and crisis referral services 24 hours per day.

Toll-Free: 1-866-925-4419

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