Essential Change

First Nations and Inuit Short-Term Mental Health Crisis Counselling in Ottawa

Anyone with status as First Nations or Inuit in Canada is entitled to a counselor for up to 20 individual psychotherapy sessions if they are in crisis. This program is covered through Health Canada under the First Nations and Inuit Health Benefits. Here is a link to the program description.

If you are First Nations or Inuit, here is how the process works.

  1. contact Craig by phone or email to set up an appointment.
  2. bring your status or registration number when you come to your first appointment.
  3. fill out a short application together and do a brief assessment to determine if you are “in crisis.”
  4. Health Canada typically approves these withing 3-7 days.
  5. after approval, you are eligible to use 15 sessions of 1-1 counseling over the course of 20 weeks, after which we can apply for 5 more sessions.

This is completely confidential and your information or any details of your case do not get shared with Health Canada. Only your name and status number are submitted to Health Canada – all other details of your case are not shared. Every time you come for an appointment you sign a paper that says you attended and Craig submits this to Health Canada.

Currently Craig partners with Odawa Native Friendship Centre who provide accessible and culturally sensitive meeting space for 1-1 sessions at their 510 Rideau St location and occasionally at their City Centre location.

Craig accepts any kind of referral, whether it is a self-referral, from a doctor or psychologist, housing worker, social worker, outreach worker, lawyer or parole officer. All are welcome.