Despite the inevitable focus on Brexit, it’s more important than ever that the voice of counselling and psychotherapy is heard loud and clear by decision makers at this General Election. Together our 50,000 voices can have real influence and give counselling and psychotherapy the backing, respect and promotion it deserves.
A large amount of people still don’t, or can’t, access the support they need, yet as trained and professional practitioners, we remain under-utilised and often under-valued. My commitment as the new Chair of the Association is to continue our focus on calling for the availability of appropriate support for the different communities we work with.
BACP has moved rapidly to influence all the General Election manifestos, writing to all main parties across the length and breadth of the UK setting out our policy priorities. We have already seen this having an impact with Labour confirming that counselling will be the centre piece of their proposed £845m healthy young minds programme.
Use this opportunity
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 talk up the critical benefits of the work that we do. 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 our professions.
We have developed a number of resources on our General Election page to assist you in speaking up for counselling, including a helpful toolkit and an easy to use online tool to enable you to write to your candidates. Even if you only have a spare 10 minutes, there are things that you can do that could make a huge difference.
"With our collective voice, we can send every MP that is elected on 12 December back to Parliament with the message that counselling changes lives."
Natalie Bailey, Chair of BACP
Psychological therapies have been the subject of manifesto commitments from all the main parties in consecutive elections. The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 outlines the need for a substantial expansion of the psychological professions. Yet the population currently faces a postcode lottery of service provision, with many unable to access the choice of therapies they need or deserve. For too long, choice has been limited, to the detriment of client outcomes. This has to change and it is vital that counselling forms a much larger proportion of this expanded workforce during the next Parliament.
Our young people need greater support too. Following the Scottish Government’s commitment to school-based counselling, England is now the only country in the UK without a Government-backed national programme for counselling in schools. Children in England deserve the same as their peers in the rest of the country.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their individual challenges too. Last year in Scotland there was a 27% increase in drug deaths, waiting times for psychological therapies in Wales remain far too long and in Northern Ireland rates of mental ill health are 25% higher than the rest of the UK.
We have had successes in the past with commitments to psychological therapies made by parties of many colours and across the whole of the UK - most recently securing a commitment for £80m for counselling in Scottish schools, colleges and universities. I urge you to get behind counselling and psychotherapy at this election.
With our collective voice, we can send every MP that is elected on 12 December back to Parliament with the message that counselling changes lives. Thank you for your support.
Labour Party announces commitment to a qualified counsellor in every school
This election we have lobbied all parties asking them to invest in a counsellor in every school
Natalie Bailey talks about importance of access to counselling as she takes over as BACP chair
Our new chair Natalie spoke at our Annual General Meeting
Help protect and promote counselling
We're urging our members to ensure the voice of counselling and psychotherapy is heard loud and clear in this General Election