We’re disappointed the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s spending review has failed to deliver the investment in counselling and psychotherapy needed to support the mental health of the nation during and beyond Covid-19.
Rishi Sunak outlined plans for spending over the next year – including £500 million for mental health services in England – in the House of Commons today.
Despite our call for investment in a paid counsellor in every secondary school, academy and further education college in England, the spending review did not include funded counselling support across the country’s schools and colleges.
The review says mental health funding, which is part of an investment to support the NHS’s recovery from the impact of Covid-19, will focus on addressing waiting times, giving more people the support they need and investing in the NHS workforce.
While we welcome any further investment in mental health support, we believe there needs to be additional investment in psychological therapies beyond those provided through the NHS.
In light of the challenges our children and young people have faced over this year we would like to have seen a national commitment to school counselling that could have provided sustainable support.
Thousands of our members, along with MPs and other campaigners, had backed our school counselling campaign.
Jo Holmes, our Children, Young People and Families Lead, said: “This was a very disappointing spending review. It was a series of missed opportunities to invest in life-changing counselling and psychotherapy support to people who are facing their darkest days because of Covid-19.
“While we can see that there’s increased funding for schools as part of the spending review, we’ve little confidence of any of this will be able to be spent on supporting young people’s mental health.
“The review has also failed to invest in counselling support for some of the groups of people whose mental health has been impacted the most by the Covid-19 pandemic, including BAME communities."
“We’ll keep fighting for increased investment in counselling and psychotherapy to support the nation through this pandemic and beyond. We know we have thousands of skilled members who are already making a difference to people’s lives and with greater investment from the Government could help even more people."
Last week, together with BPC and UKCP, we wrote to Nadine Dorries, the Minister for Mental Health, to request a meeting to discuss how the counselling and psychotherapy workforce can play a key role in supporting the nation this winter and beyond, as well as calling for dedicated tiered bereavement support to fill an important gap in provision.
School counselling in England campaign
We believe that a paid counsellor should be available in every secondary school, academy and FE college in England.
Tackling the mental health consequences of coronavirus
Back our COVID-19 campaign to reaffirm the critical role that counselling and psychotherapy needs to play in supporting the nation through the coronavirus crisis and in helping to repair it afterwards.
Coronavirus: Staying mentally well this winter
We continue to press government to discuss expanding counselling to help meet the growing need