Ahead of the General Election on 8 June 2017, We Need To Talk, a coalition of 20 mental health charities, professional organisations, Royal Colleges and service users has issued an urgent plea for more access to psychological therapies on the NHS.

  • Commitment to increasing access to psychological therapy for children and adults urgently needed in every party manifesto.
  • We Need To Talk also calls for shorter waiting times, better quality provision, and joined up services.
  • Despite NHS targets increasing, most people with mental health issues still can’t access therapy.

We Need To Talk is 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.

The NHS target to provide psychological therapy to those with common mental health conditions is set to rise to 25 per cent by 2020 (from 15 percent), but most people still won’t be helped. Even in cases of severe mental illness, like psychosis, around half of people do not receive psychological therapy or have to wait over six and even 12 weeks to receive the care they need.

Dr Andrew Reeves, Chair, BACP said: “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.”

Helen Morgan, Chair, British Psychoanalytic Council said: “Mental health has risen up the political agenda for some years and we have all seen a number of major announcements by political parties on mental health and alleviating the suffering of those experiencing emotional distress. If the next government genuinely wants to deliver parity of esteem between mental health and physical health care then it should invest in the workforce so that both adults and children experiencing a wide variety of mental health problems can receive appropriate therapy. Far too few people receive the psychological therapy they need on the NHS and this situation must change.”

“Most people with mental health problems are still unable to access psychological therapy on the NHS. People need better, and we as therapists want better – but we need the resources to see more people, see them quickly, and offer them enough therapy sessions to genuinely help them,” said Janet Weisz, Chief Executive, UK Council for Psychotherapy.

We Need to Talk manifesto submission (PDF 0.7MB)