A nationwide survey has found the public believes in the power of counselling and its ability to changes lives.

Our Public Perception Survey, conducted by YouGov, asked people if they’d had counselling in the past, if there were any barriers that might stop them getting therapy, and what their perception was of mental health.

It uncovered some incredible statistics which revealed just how valuable people believe counselling can be for them and their loved ones, and how attitudes towards mental health and wellbeing have changed over recent years.

The survey revealed 33% of people have had counselling or psychotherapy in the past, an increase from 28% in 2014.

Powerful impact

Today, on World Mental Health Day, our chief executive Hadyn Williams said: “We know counselling changes lives – and it’s fantastic to see this compelling evidence that the public recognises its powerful impact too.

“This survey was an important piece of work to help us understand people’s attitudes to therapy and to advance our drive to further promote counselling and psychotherapy to the public.

“Attitudes towards mental health are changing and there is a greater awareness of our individual wellbeing and of the impact of our work, relationships and lifestyles upon how we feel about ourselves.

“We will continue to work hard to ensure that counselling and psychotherapy are at the forefront of this conversation so the powerful and varied ways in which our profession can touch people’s lives are truly understood by all.”

The results show:

  • nine out of ten respondents believe that counselling should be freely available to everyone who needs it
  • 88% would seek counselling for a problem before it gets out of hand
  • 76% of people who have had counselling or psychotherapy would recommend it to friends and family
  • 80% of parents would encourage their child to seek therapy if needed
  • 84% believe it is more socially acceptable to discuss mental health compared to five years ago

Our press releases on this work have reached millions of people so far – highlighting how uncertainty over a topical issue such as Brexit can impact on wellbeing and come up in the therapy room and how strongly parents feel that counselling should be available in every school.

We’ve developed an infographic for our members to use that captures some of the highlights.

You can download a copy to share with clients, colleagues and fellow members.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 5,731 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between March 4 and 14, 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 16+).