We’ve highlighted the urgent need for investment in counselling and psychotherapy as part our submission to the Treasury ahead of the Autumn statement.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt will announce the Autumn budget on November 22. Some media reports have already suggested that his budget may include measures targeting mental health at work.

We’ve sent in our recommendations for where money should be spent by the Treasury to help improve access to therapy for all who need it and how by investing in mental health can bring about longer-term financial savings.

Improve access to therapy

This includes calls to remove barriers to therapy for people in need and to improve access to therapy across a range of settings, including schools and workplaces.

It also includes recommendations to invest in increasing the therapy workforce, such as by bringing in already qualified counsellors into the NHS, to help increase paid employment opportunities for our members, and to support more people who are struggling with their mental health.

The Government has the power to invest in counselling and psychotherapy to help improve the mental health of the nation. 

Seven key calls in our submission

Our submission focuses on seven key calls.

1) Invest in a trained, professional counsellor in every secondary school, further education college and across community hubs in England to meet the growing mental health crisis facing children and young people.

2) Extend VAT exemption to all individual Professional Standards Authority registered and accredited members and registrants who are qualified counsellors and psychotherapists removing unnecessary barriers to access mental health support.

3) Invest in timely, appropriate and evidence-based interventions, such as counselling and psychotherapy, for those most affected by the current cost-of living crisis

4) Tackle the mental health crisis, that threatens to undermine economic recovery and growth, by supporting investment in a wider range of psychosocial interventions in the workplace, including counselling and psychotherapy

5) Increase both access to counselling and psychotherapy through the NHS as well as tackling the workforce crisis affecting psychological therapy services by creating opportunities for more existing qualified counsellors and psychotherapists to move into the NHS workforce.

6) Improve access and choice of therapy through investment in local community-based counselling services.

7) Invest in high quality, accessible and culturally sensitive services to people from marginalised community backgrounds and those at greatest risk of psychological distress and mental ill health, including refugees.

Investment and action

Our Head of Policy and Public Affairs Martin Bell said:

“The Autumn statement submission is an opportunity for us to highlight our main calls for investment and action that will improve access to therapy and also expand paid opportunities for the therapy workforce.

“It complements the work we do all year around on behalf of our members; working with politicians and decision-makers to help them understand the positive change counselling has on people’s lives.

“The Government know there’s a mental health crisis in this country – they’ve seen the figures for demand for therapy and lengthy waiting lists, they’ve heard the stories of children who are falling between the gaps of services.

“The Chancellor holds the key to increasing funding for mental health support in the NHS, schools, community organisations and workplaces. His budget on November 22 could make a difference to those seeking therapy and those providing it – if he listens to our calls and those of other mental health charities.

“It’s time for the Chancellor to make a positive statement that shows the government sees the nation’s mental health as a policy priority.”

Read our full Autumn statement submission (pdf 300kb)