The Government has appointed Maria Caulfield MP as the new minister responsible for mental health.

We welcome her to her post and look forward to working with her and her department to ensure people get the timely, effective mental health support that they need – including better access to counselling and psychotherapy.

This is particularly critical as we see the growing strain of the cost of living crisis on the mental health of the nation.

Our recent survey showed that 60% of our members reported that clients are cutting back on therapy sessions due to money worries and almost half  (47%) of therapists report clients are cancelling or pausing sessions because they can no longer afford them.

Unlike her predecessors, Maria Caulfield will have a much wider focus holding dual roles as Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy within the Department of Health and Social Care as well as Minister for Women at the Department for International Trade.

We hope the breadth of the Minister’s portfolios and lesser senior ministerial role for mental health particularly, will not mean that mental health drops down the Government’s agenda.

Focus on investment

It’s vital she focuses on investment and improvement to help those who face long waiting lists or a postcode lottery for mental health support or limited options and choice of therapy.

We also urge the incoming Minister not to abandon the Government’s plans for a 10 Year Mental Health Strategy, and to ensure that investment in mental health services is sustainable and better uses the skill and capacity of the counselling professions.

We’ll be engaging with the new Minister on behalf of our members ahead of the Autumn Budget in order to further make the case for timely, sustainable investment in counselling and psychotherapy.

Our Head of Policy and Public Affairs Martin Bell said: “We’re looking forward to working with the new Minister to deliver improvements in mental health services for people of all ages, as well as ensuring a greater choice and access to counselling and psychotherapy.

“The Minister and her department must better recognise the skills and capacity of all our members, who are well placed to meet the current NHS mental health workforce challenges and pressures on the mental health services. We’ll be emphasising this in all our communications with her and her Department.”