BACP has joined eight other leading mental health organisations in calling on the Government to remove benefits sanctions for people with mental health difficulties.

The call has been made in a consensus statement, which is launched at the New Savoy Partnership conference in London on Friday.

In the statement, the organisations say the social security system too often treats people with insufficient dignity and humanity, which can contribute to worsening mental health conditions.

The statement also calls for everyone living with a mental health condition to be supported in reaching financial security, whether through the social security system or appropriate help in returning to or gaining paid work.

The professional bodies and mental health charities acknowledge that the psychological benefits of good quality work have been proven, while the financial insecurity which can come with unemployment or insecure, low-paid work can cause increased psychological distress.

However, the statement makes clear that no one with a mental health condition should be forced to look for work or face the threat of having their benefit payments reduced and their financial security removed.

It adds that sanctions such as these have not been shown to work and are not safe for people with mental health difficulties or for their dependents. As a result, the statement says, they should be stopped.

The nine organisations pledge to work together to bring an end the harm that sanctions cause, and to move towards a system which provides effective support and is based around the needs of the individual.

Martin Bell, BACP head of policy and stakeholder relations, said: “We are pleased to support the call for the removal of benefits sanctions for people with mental health difficulties. 

“We are concerned that the social security system does not provide the effective support needed for people living with a mental health condition, but can actually contribute to worsening it.

“This can’t be right and needs to change, and we look forward to working together to achieve improved support for those with mental health issues.”


The nine organisations are:


The British Psychological Society

New Savoy Partnership


British Psychoanalytic Council

Rethink Mental Illness

Mental Health Foundation

Centre for Mental Health

Association of Child Psychotherapists