Mental Health Counselling for First Nations and Inuit (NIHB and IRS RHSP programs)

Shaun is a member of the Painted Feather Woodland Metis in Ontario and my practice is an approved provider to give counselling services as part of the non-insured health benefit as well as the Indian residential school support program. This is a free service that the government provides and details of eligibility can be found below.

The Guide to Mental Health Counselling Services has been developed jointly by the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program and the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program (IRS RHSP). The purpose of this Guide is to outline the general and program-specific terms and conditions, criteria, guidelines and policies under which the NIHB Program’s Mental Health Counselling benefit and the Individual and Family Counselling component of the IRS RHSP


The NIHB Program and IRS RHSP (the “Programs”) operate as part of a continuum of mental wellness programs provided by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) of Indigenous Services Canada, which are linked to mental wellness services that are provided by communities, and Provinces and Territories. An overview of other FNIHB mental health programming can be found in section 7.2 of this Guide.

Note that NIHB and IRS RHSP have some differences with respect to policies and requirements. Please see the respective sections of this Guide for details.

NIHB Mental Health Counselling (MHC) Benefit

The NIHB Program’s MHC benefit is intended to provide coverage for professional mental health counselling to complement other mental wellness services that may be available. Providers should make themselves aware of the current mental wellness services available in the community, and locally from the province/territory and consider linking the client to such services.

IRS RHSP Individual and Family Counselling

IRS RHSP provides eligible former Indian Residential Schools students and their families with access to mental health support services so they may safely address the broad spectrum of mental wellness issues related to the impacts of Indian Residential Schools. IRS RHSP fulfills commitments made in the 2007 IRS Settlement Agreement.


To be eligible for NIHB Program benefits, a client must be a Canadian resident and registered or eligible to be registered under a provincial or territorial health insurance plan and have the following status:


Additional Services

Are you currently in crisis?

Call the Community Crisis Centre