We’re disappointed the Government’s latest strategy document as part of plans for recovery from the pandemic fails to meet the nation’s mental health needs.
The document, titled The next chapter in our plan to rebuild: The UK Government's Covid-19 recovery strategy, includes plans for suppressing the virus, for how the Government plans to rebuild the economy and for easing restrictions.
But it doesn’t include plans to provide the urgent and comprehensive mental health support many people now require.
Without this support, we believe the strategy won’t achieve its central aim, "to return to life as close to normal as possible … in a way that minimises lives lost and maximises health, economic and social outcomes".
We’re also disappointed the announcement for increased financial support for schools and education providers doesn’t include additional funding to support the emotional health of our children and young people, who will be returning to schools and colleges in September after a long period of absence.
We’re urging Government to re-examine this decision as part of our campaign for counselling and psychotherapy to maximise counselling and psychotherapy in supporting the nation through the pandemic.
With our partners, we’re urgently calling for Government to develop a clear action plan to deliver a comprehensive mental health response to Covid-19 which provides funding for counselling and psychotherapy targeted at those communities and people most affected by the pandemic.
Steve Mulligan, our Four Nation Policy Lead, said: "It’s critical the UK Government fully recognises and responds to the psychological impact of the pandemic, providing appropriate resource for counselling as part of a much more comprehensive response to address rising need.
“This must be a central plank of their strategy to support people who are returning and adjusting to work and education in these unusual times.”
Recent analysis by the Chartered College of Teaching found fewer than 5% of teachers expressed confidence they will be able to effectively support vulnerable and traumatised pupils in September.
According to recent estimates by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, 500,000 more people will experience a mental health difficulty over the next year.
And the Centre for Mental Health has recently forecast up to two million more people could be impacted, particularly if there is a second wave of Covid-19 and the economy is damaged further.
Julie Hughes, chair of BACP’s Workplace Division and director of Mind Matters EAP, said: "It’s crucial to recognise the needs of people whose lives have been so radically changed and are returning to a new normal.
“Returning to work will represent a significant challenge for many of the nation’s workers, and may include adjusting to a new economic reality, with reduced hours, less pay and mounting financial pressures.
“Investing in the support people need now will go a long way to preventing the economic and human costs associated with longer term mental illness, including anxiety and depression, that huge numbers of workers will be at increased risk of.”
You can show your support for the campaign by writing to your Member of Parliament or devolved representatives, using this online letter tool.
It will ensure they understand how the pandemic is affecting communities and individuals and emphasise the role therapy can play in rebuilding the country.
And you can add your name to the petition here