After weeks of political turmoil, the UK has its second new Prime Minister in two months.
With Rishi Sunak appointed to lead the country as it faces a series of unprecedented challenges, we’ve reiterated our calls for the Government to ensure the nation’s mental health is among its priorities.
Following this time of political upheaval, it’s now time for action.
We believe everyone struggling with their mental health should be able to access a choice of psychological therapies when they need it.
The Government, including Health Secretary Steve Barclay and Mental Health Minister Caroline Johnson, must do more for those in need of vital mental health support – including counselling and psychotherapy.
It must address the situation that many children and adults in desperate need of mental health support face long waiting lists, a postcode lottery for support and limited options for the therapy that they‘re able to access.
We’re concerned the Government has not re-committed to its plans for a 10-year mental health strategy. We urge it to ensure investment is sustainable and better uses the skills and capacity of the counselling professions. Spending cuts cannot be allowed to impact the nation’s mental health.
Mental health priorities
We believe the Prime Minister and Government’s mental health priorities must be to:
- Expand the counselling and psychotherapy workforce within the NHS and explore new opportunities for service delivery through integrated care systems. This includes recognising that there are large numbers of trained counsellors and psychotherapists who could work in the NHS. It’s time to stop the NHS undervaluing and underusing therapists.
- Invest in a trained and professional counsellor in every secondary school, college and community hub in England to meet the growing mental health crisis facing children and young people
- Improve access to high quality and culturally sensitive services to people from marginalised community backgrounds and those at greatest risk of psychological distress
- Increase investment in workplace counselling support to help people deal with the personal, financial and work pressures which often lead to poor mental health.
- Improve access and choice of therapy through sustainable, long-term investment in local counselling services and third sector organisations to deliver counselling in their communities
- Continue with plans for a ban on conversion therapy, but to reconsider the scope of the ban so that it protects everyone at risk of harm, including trans people.
- Keep its commitment to publishing a Health Disparities White Paper by the end of this year. The Government must recognise the mental health impacts of inequalities in UK society, and adopt a whole-Government approach to redressing imbalances.
We’ll be contacting the new Health Secretary and Minister for Mental Health to continue to push these important points to the Government.
Our attendance at both Conservative and Labour Party conference last month showed that mental health is at the forefront of many agendas and there is an increased focus on prevention.
Action and investment
That has to translate into action and investment.
Martin Bell, our Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “Mental health must be a priority for the new Government. We need to see positive actions that make a real difference in the lives of those struggling with their mental health.
“We’ll continue to challenge the Government and work to ensure that the voice of counselling and psychotherapy is heard loud and clear and can help shape future policy decisions.
“We’ll continue to work on behalf our members and those in need of mental health support to do everything we can to improve access to counselling and psychotherapy.”
Shadow minister pays tribute to counsellors and psychotherapists
Our Deputy Chief Executive Fiona Ballantine Dykes was part of the Labour party conference panel event
Mental health at the forefront
BACP’s Policy and Public Affairs Officer, Karan Chhabra, describes the recent important work of our Policy team. BACP policy blogs
Call for new government to tackle health inequalities
We’ve co-signed a letter to Therese Coffey with other members of the Inequalities in Health Alliance