The Green Party has supported our call for a 28-day referral to treatment target for psychological therapies, as it launched its General Election manifesto.

As part of its manifesto, the Green Party said it wants to “focus funding to enable major improvements to mental health care to truly put it on an equal footing with physical health care, and ensure that everyone who needs it can access evidence-based mental health therapies within 28 days”.

The party added in its manifesto: “We will ensure that tailored and specific provision is readily available for the particular needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer and Asexual (LGBTIQA+) and Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, children and adolescents, and older people.”

We have lobbied all parties about the disparity between the treatment of physical and mental health and the need for all people referred to NHS psychological therapy services to begin treatment within 28 days of referral and assessment.

We have also lobbied the parties on the need for choice of treatment. Research shows that where a choice of evidence-based psychological therapies is offered, patient outcomes are better.

And we have lobbied on greater psychological support for older people; on supporting relationships and families and on counselling in educational settings.

Martin Bell, our Deputy Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “Achieving parity of esteem in relation to NHS psychological therapy services requires a concerted effort by the new Government.

“That’s why we’ve asked all parties to commit to ensuring that all people referred to NHS psychological therapy services should begin treatment within 28 days of referral and assessment, as one of a number of recommendations aimed at achieving parity of esteem.

The latest figures from NHS Digital show an increasing number of patients are waiting longer to be seen for talking therapies.

“More than 6,000 patients (12.7%) waited longer than six weeks to enter treatment, compared with 10.3% patients last August. In addition, a further 1.2% of patients – around 582 people – had to wait more than 18 weeks.

“We’re delighted that The Green Party have acknowledged our call and we hope that other parties follow in making manifesto pledges to make parity of esteem between mental and physical health a reality.”

We’ve contacted all parties with our key manifesto asks. They have been published as part of our new dedicated election web pages.

The web pages include information on what you can do to engage your local General Election candidates to help us protect and promote counselling across the country.

This will include some handy guides, alongside questions that you can put to your election candidate, either in writing or if they knock on your door.

And if you are on social media, use the hashtag #StandUpForCounselling to join in the conversation and see what fellow members are saying.

We will be publishing the commitments relating to counselling and mental health from all parties as announcements are made and manifestos are published.