We’re delighted to see the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy discussed in the Houses of Parliament during a debate on the 10-Year Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan.

Kevan Jones MP spoke about the importance of counselling and psychotherapy, and of early intervention during a Westminster Hall debate.

We briefed Mr Jones, the Labour Member of Parliament for North Durham, ahead of the debate.

Early intervention

He said: “We also need early intervention and prevention, which are so important.

“We know for a fact that around 50% of mental health conditions are established by the time that a child reaches the age of 14 and 75% of them are established by the time someone is 24.

“However, it is estimated that 60% of children and young people who have diagnosable mental health conditions currently do not receive NHS care.

“I share the very valid concerns raised by mental health charities and others that scrapping the 10-year plan and merging mental health into the major conditions strategy means that the people who will be at most risk will be children and young people, who are less likely to have chronic physical health conditions, but are most likely to benefit from early intervention, for example counselling or psychotherapy.”

Kevan Jones MP spoke about the importance of counselling and psychotherapy

Kevan Jones MP spoke about the importance of counselling and psychotherapy

School counselling

Mr Jones also echoed our calls for children to have access to a funded school counsellor.

We’ve long campaigned for a paid counsellor to be available in every secondary school, academy and FE college in England, which lags behind Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in its provision of funded school counselling.

We’re pleased to have a strong relationship with the Labour Party on this issue, and have recently met with the offices of the Shadow Mental Health, and Shadow Education, Ministers.

Speaking in the debate, Mr Jones said: “We need universal access to counselling for children, which we do not have at the moment.

“That is why I support providing special mental health support in every school.

“I stress that schools are not islands, separate from their communities. We also need clear links between the support given there and in the community.”

Benefits of counselling and psychotherapy

Karan Chhabra, our Policy and Public Affairs Officer, said: “We’re extremely pleased to see the benefits of early interventions such as counselling and psychotherapy discussed in this debate.

“The skyrocketing rates of mental ill-health, particularly in children and young people, that have been exacerbated by the cost-of-living, meaning that investment in counselling and psychotherapy is more important than ever.

“We also share the concerns of Kevan Jones MP that the Government scrapping the 10-year Mental Health Strategy in favour of the Major Conditions Strategy may short-change mental health when it comes to future policy-making and funding decisions.

“This is a critical opportunity for the Government to address these concerns and invest in timely, appropriate support for those most at need.”

Read the full transcript of the debate.

Meanwhile, we’ve created a guide with suggestions for how members can support our policy and campaigning work.

Our Influencing Guide contains ideas for actions that take a few minutes but could have a significant impact. It also contains information and statistics on our policy objectives in each of the Four Nations to help you draft letters, emails or social media posts to your local MP, MSP, MS or MLA.

Karan said: “We know our members are incredible busy, so we hope our Influencing Guide will support them in grabbing the attention of policymakers to help shape the future of our profession.”