The need for access to good quality psychological therapies has never been greater. Yet, even if the current plans to expand the IAPT programme are delivered, by 2020 only 25% of people will be able to get the help they desperately need. This wouldn’t be tolerated for physical health conditions, so why should it be for depression and anxiety?

That’s why we joined a coalition of 20 mental health organisations calling for increased access to services and greater capacity, a maximum 28 day waiting time target, quality services - including more therapy sessions, more choice, and properly trained therapists - and joined up services to stop people getting lost between child and adult services.

We Need to Talk manifesto submission (PDF 0.7MB)

Dr Andrew Reeves, Chair of BACP, says:“We know that the work of our members changes the lives of individuals and communities. Counselling is crucial in helping people to recover from a mental health problem and helps build resilience. We believe it’s vital that all political parties commit to increasing the availability of high quality counselling and psychotherapy services, so that the public can access the therapy they want, when they need it.” 

But it’s not enough to just increase the number of therapists along the lines of the current IAPT model. People need and deserve a choice in the therapy they receive – a statement that’s backed up by evidence.

Clients who shared in decision-making or received a choice of treatment have lower drop-outs, greater treatment satisfaction and most importantly better treatment outcomes. (Lindhiem, Bennett, Trentacosta et al, 2014).

We await the publication of a consultation on the NICE guidelines on depression for adults, a document that could further impact on choice and access. The potential impact of that consultation was powerfully explained in a blog from BACP’s Chair, Andrew Reeves where he highlighted the serious threat we face, and the potential for a future where counselling and other forms of therapy are no longer offered through the NHS.

BACP intends to stand up and fight to ensure that our most vulnerable people are given the support they so desperately need.