At this General Election, it’s more important than ever that the voice of counselling and psychotherapy is heard loud and clear by decision makers. Together our 44,000 voices can make a real impact and give the counselling professions the support and protection they deserve. We don’t just do this for ourselves, but because of our commitment to social justice and the one in four of us who will suffer from a mental health issue within our lifetime.
Throughout the Election campaign, candidates will be talking to you on your doorsteps, in your streets or at hustings events in your constituency. We want you to use this opportunity to advocate the critical benefits of counselling. We have set out our manifesto asks to all the main political parties ahead of this election and we need you to join us to make a powerful case for the counselling professions.
What can you do to support us?
We have developed a number of resources on our General Election pages to assist you, including a few simple questions you can ask your candidates. Why not share them with family and friends to build strong support behind our campaign? We have had successes in the past with commitments to school-based counselling made by parties of many colours and across the whole of the UK. I urge you to get behind the counselling professions at this election.
Psychological therapies have been the subject of manifesto commitments from all the main parties in consecutive elections. Whilst the money that has come through for the IAPT programme has been welcomed, our members working in the NHS know all too well this has led to an over-emphasis on CBT, often at the expense of counselling. This is despite evidence of equal outcomes for both interventions and on the back of sustained and vocal lobbying by BACP.
In this next Parliament, through the Government’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, IAPT is to be widened further – with 6,000 more therapists promised for the NHS. It is vital that counselling gets its share.
More importantly, we know that a consultation will be launched on the content of the NICE Guidelines for Depression this summer and there is a real risk that counselling may be removed or downgraded. This would have a disastrous impact, not just in England and Wales but across the UK, as NICE guidance carries significant weight in each country. It could lead to counselling and other forms of therapy no longer being offered through the NHS, restricting patient choice and depriving people of a proven intervention. In 2009, with the help of our members, BACP campaigned to retain counselling within the guidance, and together we won. You may be needed again and I hope you will back us to protect the counselling professions.
With our collective voice, we can send every MP that is elected on 8 June back to Parliament with the message that counselling changes lives.
Thank you for your support.