New Prime Minister Liz Truss has a long list of major issues to address on behalf of the UK as she enters 10 Downing Street – but she must ensure the nation’s mental health is a priority too.

The UK is facing a growing children’s mental health crisis, the potentially devastating impact of the cost of living crisis on people’s wellbeing, and many people are still living with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including trauma, bereavement and long-term poor health.

Yet many people 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 believe everyone struggling with their mental health should be able to access a choice of psychological therapies when they need it.

Taking action

As well as taking action to address this in the short-term, the Prime Minister and her new Government must think longer-term as well.

They must continue with their existing plans for a 10-year mental health strategy to ensure that investment is sustainable and better uses the skills and capacity of the existing counselling professions.

We’ll be contacting and engaging with the new Health Secretary and Minister for Mental Health at the earliest opportunity to continue to push these important points to the Government.

We’ll also be attending the Conservative and Labour Party conferences to press policy makers to commit to investing in 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

Martin Bell, our Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “Turning these priorities into actions would be a positive step forward for the mental health of the nation.

“We’ve already responded to the Government’s 10-year mental health strategy consultation to highlight these priorities, and we’ll be using every opportunity available to us to continue to make these points to politicians and policy-makers.

“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.”