The Liberal Democrats have supported our call for a wider choice of therapies for people accessing mental health services in their General Election manifesto.
Their pledge for a broader range of therapies includes a commitment to greater support for older people, in line with our key asks at this General Election.
The Lib Dems manifesto says: “Increase access to a broader range and number of clinically effective talking therapies so that hundreds of thousands more people can receive this support, with equal access for older people, BAME and LGBT+ patients, and people with autism or learning disabilities.”
Matt Smith-Lilley, our Policy and Engagement Lead for Mental Health, said: “We believe expanding the choice of psychological therapies available to all people accessing mental health services should be a priority for all political parties and we’re really pleased to see this commitment to deliver a broader range and number of effective psychological therapies has been made.
“We’ve long called for there to be a concerted effort to increase both the availability of evidence-based psychological therapies as well as seeing an increase in access to services and a reduction in waiting times.
“We know a choice of psychological therapies is crucial to achieving better outcomes for those people using services and research repeatedly shows that patient preference has a significant impact on treatment outcome as well as recognising that there isn’t simply a one-size fits all model of care for people accessing mental health services.”
The Lib Dems also backed our call for every school child in the UK to have access to counselling support.
The manifesto adds: “Ensure that all teaching staff have the training to identify mental health issues and that schools provide immediate access for pupil support and counselling.”
Jo Holmes, our Children, Young People and Families Lead, said: “We welcome the commitment of further strengthening the whole school approach to mental health and well-being and view the inclusion of immediate access to counselling services as the bedrock to this, providing this counselling is offered by appropriately trained counsellors with experience of working with children and young people.
"By offering universal counselling in schools we can help alleviate the strain on more specialist CAMHs provision and provide appropriate psychological services in-house to meet the needs of children and young people at a time and place that best suits them.
"While we welcome the inclusion of improved provision for university students, it's important not to forget that young people in colleges also need access to universal counselling services."
Other Lib Dems commitments include: “Develop a scheme to reward employers who invest in the mental wellbeing of their employees, piloting reduced business rates for employers who support employees’ mental wellbeing and provide mental health first aid training to staff.”
Kris Ambler, our Worforce Lead, said: “We’ve called for all employees to have access to workplace counselling and this is a step in the right direction.”
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.