The General Election results are in – and the UK has a new Prime Minister and a Labour Government.

The Labour Party has inherited a country where 1.2 million people are waiting for much-needed help with their mental health, with more than a quarter of a million of these being children.

Counselling organisations are seeing spiralling demand yet reduced funding that is threatening their futures. Marginalised communities are facing numerous barriers as individuals seek to access life-changing support.

Powerful actions

The time for pledges and promises is over – we need the new Labour Government to take powerful actions to improve the nation’s mental health.

And counselling and psychotherapy must be a key part of their response to the national mental health crisis.

The party reflected six of our own manifesto asks in its General Election manifesto, including commitments to mental health professionals in schools, funding mental health hubs for children and young people and delivering a ban on conversion therapy that will protect everyone at risk of harm.

Hard work starts now

For BACP, the hard work starts now. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be reaching out to the new Ministers responsible for Mental Health and Education, and their officials, to offer our support in implementing these commitments. This will build on our longstanding work to advise the party on these pledges in advance of the General Election.

We'll also be working with all the opposition parties, building on our existing relationships with relevant spokespersons, and members of the new Select Committees to ensure they are holding the new Government to account to deliver these pledges.

We’ve already had a positive response from Labour officials to our Case for School Counselling Report, published with Citizens UK and Public First, and hope to build on that work as we continue to campaign for a paid counsellor in every school.

We also hope to see Labour’s response to the review of Mental Health policy undertaken by our Vice President, Luciana Berger, which will help ensure a comprehensive cross-Government response to tackling the mental health crisis.

Hold new Government to account

Martin Bell, our Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “We’re optimistic about Labour’s commitment to mental health as it’s been a crucial part of the party’s manifesto. But now we need the details and actions about how this is going to be achieved. We’ll hold the new Government to account on all their mental health pledges.

“Central to our approach will be making the case for Labour to call upon the trained yet underutilised counselling workforce to help improve the mental health of the nation. We look forward to working with the new Government, its ministers and officials to bring their mental health pledges to fruition in a way that has positive results for all.

“We know the party is committed to mental health professionals in schools and early intervention hubs that provide counselling to children and young people. These are areas we’ve campaigned on for many years and we’ll work hard to influence the implementation of these plans to ensure counsellors and psychotherapists have an important role in this rollout.

Trained and qualified therapists

“Labour’s commitments to bring down waiting times and recruit thousands of mental health professionals to the NHS must involve recruiting already trained and qualified therapists if they are to contribute to wider access to and increase the availability of a range of therapies.

“Labour has shown strong leadership by taking forward a fully-inclusive ban on conversion therapy. We hope this will finally become law after years of delays.

“We’ll also continue to push on issues that Labour have not spoken about in their manifesto – including ensuring much-needed early and accessible counselling support for those in work, improving access to workplace counselling and removing VAT on counselling services.

“Today brings the opportunity for a change in approach to delivering better mental health services for everyone who needs them – and one where we hope the nation’s mental health will be taken seriously and prioritised.”