December’s General Election will see all 650 Westminster seats across the UK contested. While we know a lot of the debate will focus on Brexit, it's critical that we use this opportunity to ensure the voice of counselling and psychotherapy is heard loud and clear by the next cohort of MPs.
What are we asking for?
We want the next Government to commit to increased access to psychological therapies for anyone who needs them:
- end the postcode lottery and ensure everyone has the universal right to access a choice of psychological therapies, enshrined in the NHS constitution
- create a new Chief Psychological Professions Officer, putting the professions on a par with medicine, nursing and the allied health professions
- ensure all people begin psychological therapies within 28 days of referral
- ensure current European Union funding for mental health projects is matched by the UK Government, in the event of Brexit
- provide greater support for our children and young people with a paid counsellor in every school in England to bring into line with the rest of UK, and embedded counselling services in all colleges and universities
- increase access to psychological therapies for our ageing population, and fund an Older People’s Commissioner in England and Scotland
- make relationship counselling available to anyone who needs it, regardless of income
- ensure all employees have access to workplace counselling
We want BACP members to play an active role
Throughout the election campaign, candidates will be trying to talk to you on your doorsteps, in your streets or at hustings events in your constituency.
We encourage you to use this opportunity to advocate the critical benefits of counselling and psychotherapy, drawing on your own experiences. To help, we've developed a simple guide providing hints and tips on how to engage with prospective parliamentary candidates.
Taking a Four Nations approach
While health is a devolved matter, all the political parties like to reflect local issues in their manifestos. We've developed bespoke manifestos for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales which highlight specific asks to help meet the key challenges in each nation.
Working in partnership
As well as developing our own manifesto asks, we've worked with a number of partner organisations to collaborate on joint policy submissions:
Joint submission with British Psychoanalytic Council and UK Council for Psychotherapy
Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition
Coalition of professional organisations calling for a Chief Psychological Professions Officer
Coalition of 40 mental health organisations calling for patient choice of psychological therapies (pdf)
Who is standing in your constituency?
There will be a range of candidates campaigning for votes in your constituency.
If you do speak to your candidate about counselling and psychotherapy over the election period, please feedback to us at firstname.lastname@example.org