About this Benefit What My Plan Covers How Do I Access Coverage? What My Plan Does Not Cover Appeals FNHA Mental Health Programs Resources
Counselling is a tool for individuals experiencing a difficult situation to resolve their emotional distress and enjoy greater wellness.
Health Benefits partners with Indigenous Services Canada to offer a comprehensive mental health plan to First Nations in BC.
Your plan covers counselling services from a qualified mental health provider, including psychologists, clinical counsellors and social workers.
Your plan will cover as many hours of counselling as you and your provider determine you need.
Your plan covers counselling services from a mental health provider who is registered with Health Benefits. You can find a registered mental health provider on the Health Benefits Mental Health Provider List.
Even if you do not have status, you may be eligible for mental health coverage through one of the specialized mental health programs funded by Indigenous Services Canada.
You may be eligible if you are a former student, or are a family member of a former student, who attended a residential school listed in the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. You may also be eligible if you are experiencing trauma or distress stemming from missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
See About our Mental Health Programs, below, for more about our mental health programs.
You must see a provider who is registered with the Health Benefits Program to receive coverage for your counselling services. You can find a registered mental health provider on the Health Benefits Mental Health Provider List.
If you need travel assistance to access counselling, please contact the IRS Program (email: IRS.firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: 1-877-477-0775).
If you prefer virtual appointments, talk to your provider about Telehealth options. See the Telehealth page or the Telehealth for Mental Health poster.
1. Tell your provider that you have coverage through the Health Benefits Program when scheduling your first appointment.
2. Your first appointment is about determining if the provider is the right fit for you. You can change to another registered provider at any time.
3. Cancel your appointment ahead of time if you can no longer make it. Health Benefits does not pay for missed appointments and your provider may charge you for the cost of your appointment if you do not show up.
If you have any questions about your mental health plan, how to access coverage, or why a claim was denied, call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.
Some services are considered Exclusions. Exclusions cannot be covered as an exception and cannot be appealed. Some examples of common mental health Exclusions are:
• services for children under the age of six• psychiatric emergencies for people at risk of harm to self or others• services funded by another program or agency (eg, psychiatric services through BC MSP counselling provided to incarcerated clients)• services for the purpose of a third party (eg, school application, employment assessment, to support legal action, child custody, etc)• Telehealth through instant messaging or emails
You can call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454 to learn more about what is covered.
When coverage for a mental health service has been denied, you 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.
Coverage is available for mental health counselling from the three Health Benefit programs described below.
You do not need to apply for coverage through a specific program. You will be assigned to a program based on your eligibility.
The Mental Wellness and Counselling (MWC) program is designed to support clients who are in need of professional assistance to resolve emotional distress and enjoy greater wellness. All Health Benefits clients are eligible for the MWC program.
The Indian Day School Health Support Services (IDS HSS) is a national program administered in BC through Health Benefits. Services are available for former students, or family members of a former student, who attended an Indian Day School. First Nations and non-First Nations individuals may be eligible for the program.
The Indian Residential School Resolution Health Support Program (IRS RHSP) is a national program administered in BC through Health Benefits. Services are available for former students, or family members of a former student, who attended a residential school listed in the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. First Nations and non-First Nations individuals may be eligible for the program.
The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Health Support Services (MMIWG HSS) is a national program administered in BC through Health Benefits. Services are available for survivors, family members and others affected by the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. First Nations and non-First Nations individuals may be eligible for the program.
The FNHA Mental Wellness and Substance Use team provides a number of resources for clients seeking additional information or support related to mental health, mental wellness, and substance use.