BACP today backed MPs’ calls for more choice of psychological therapy services for people in England seeking mental health treatments.

BACP said it was vital that people are offered the most effective therapy and not just the treatment that is available.

BACP was responding to a report published today by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Mental Health which says adults with severe mental illnesses are struggling to get support as core mental health services have been left behind by the government’s mental health strategy.

The report is a result of an inquiry which received more than 70 pieces of evidence service users, professionals and stakeholders including BACP.

BACP told the inquiry that many Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services do not offer the full range of talking therapies, despite the existence of NICE-approved therapies beyond cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

BACP's Head of Policy and Communications, Suky Kaur, said: “We believe offering clients a full and informed choice of evidence-based psychological therapies is a vital part of an effective mental health service and are pleased to see the APPG on Mental Health supporting our position.

“We know that not all psychological interventions are effective for all people or for all problems, and that’s why it’s important that clients are offered the choice – so they can understand what they’re choosing and how it may help them.

“Ultimately it’s about ensuring the public get the most effective evidence-based help for their mental health problems and we believe that choice is cornerstone of achieving that.”

The report makes 24 recommendations including increasing and diversifying the mental health workforce.

BACP said it was disappointed the report singled out psychology graduates, adding that the skills and expertise of its members could be employed to expand the NHS mental health workforce in England.

Suky said: “We agree the mental health workforce needs to be expanded to ensure there are sufficient staffed services to meet the public’s needs.

“However, we are disappointed only psychology graduates are referenced as a potential recruitment pool, ignoring the counsellors and psychotherapists who are our members who have completed core training.

“With some top-up training in IAPT they could provide a rapid expansion of the psychological therapies workforce as well as meet the need to expand choice of psychological therapies.”

You can download the report On the road to parity.