With one in six workers experiencing a mental health problem at any one time, and stress thought to be responsible for almost half of working days lost in Britain due to health issues, understanding the relationship between mental health and the workplace is vitally important.

Workplace counselling

Work or personal issues can have a detrimental impact on a person’s mental and physical health, affecting their ability to work productively and safely. Problems can include work, health, relationships, personal finances and loss or bereavement. Sometimes these can stretch a person's capability to cope and leave them feeling overwhelmed.

During these times having the right kind of support can make all the difference. While counselling is available on the NHS, the long waiting times, lack of specialist insight and inflexibility of appointment times and locations make workplace counselling a more attractive option to many employers. Workplace counsellors are professionally qualified specialists able to find ways to help their clients overcome difficulties, so they can remain at or return to work.

Types of workplace counselling

Workplace counselling comes in many different forms, to suit the size, budget and needs of a business. Models include in-house services, external provision (Employee Assistance Programme), and outsourced provision via occupational health services.

For small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) contracting with a local counsellor is a cost effective, ad hoc solution. Counselling can take place face to face, via telephone or online, offering flexibility for employer and employee.

Why should employers invest in employee counselling?

Employers can expect healthy returns on their investment in workplace counselling, with studies showing that workplace counselling interventions can:

  • reduce sickness absence rates by up to 50%
  • achieve significant cost savings
  • improve employee happiness, positivity and feelings of job security
  • help meet legal duties and achieve CSR objectives
  • achieve a return of £5 for every £1 invested in mental health interventions

Employer resources

Mental health at work – Mind

A comprehensive one stop shop of mental health resources for organisations of all sizes. Includes free online toolkits, training and guides developed by organisations including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Mind, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Public Health England (PHE)

Therapist and service directories

Find a counsellor using our searchable directory of registered BACP members or our A-Z list of accredited counselling service providers.


Advertise your counselling vacancies to BACP members through our online job search and weekly subscribers' email.

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Contact us

Got a question about workplace counselling? Contact kris.ambler@bacp.co.uk