Two of our members told ITV News viewers about the benefits of counselling and outdoor therapy during a segment on Mental Health Awareness Week.

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is nature and the environment.

Clare Cox, who runs outdoor therapy sessions, and Jacqui Cheetham, a student counsellor who’s experienced outdoor therapy as a client, were interviewed live by presenter Nina Hossain on Monday’s ITV Lunchtime News.

Outdoor therapy

Clare said: “Outdoor therapy offers a safe alternative to working online and face-to-face.

“Getting outside and connecting with nature can improve conditions like anxiety and depression, and can improve self-esteem.”

Jacqui said: “I love the outdoors and nature has a wonderful way of helping me to feel comfortable and relaxed as I engage with my therapist, as I relate to her.

“If I think about conversations I’ve had with friends and family over the years often it’s while walking that you can have the most open conversations and build trust and build relationships.

“I think the natural world has an enormous amount to offer within therapy – definitely I’ll be continuing (after restrictions ease),” she added.

Our members Jacqui Cheetham (left) and Clare Cox (right) discussed outdoor therapy with Nina Hossain (top) on the ITV Lunchtime News

Our members Jacqui Cheetham (left) and Clare Cox (right) discussed outdoor therapy with Nina Hossain (top) on the ITV Lunchtime News

Impact of the pandemic

Claire also referenced figures from our annual Public Perceptions Survey, which examined the impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health.

She said: “Lots of people have been affected in different ways by the pandemic. Not everyone is happy to come out of lockdown.

“We may see an increase in social anxiety and people who are nervous about restrictions lifting.”

The interviews were arranged through our partnership with the media  23red media agency. We’re working the agency to increase our PR efforts to raise awareness of how counselling and psychotherapy can change lives and to drive people to BACP to find qualified therapists.

Meanwhile, Hadyn Williams, our Chief Executive, Fiona Ballantine Dykes, our Deputy Chief Executive, Kris Ambler, our Workforce Lead, and Mark Fudge, Chair of our Universities and Colleges division, were quoted in an article in the Independent for Mental Health Awareness Week about how to access therapy in lockdown.

Hadyn said: “The mental health consequences of this pandemic will affect many people for a long time, and it’s vital that they can access therapy when they need it.”