The Spring Budget was another lost opportunity to radically improve the nation’s mental health.

At a time when we're seeing the cost of living having a negative impact on people’s mental health and mental health services themselves struggling and overcapacity, we'd hoped to see much more from the Chancellor today, in helping people access support.

Although the announcement on increasing the VAT threshold to £90,000 will benefit some services, ultimately it would be more beneficial to exempt counselling and psychotherapy services from VAT entirely.

Struggling Third Sector services

We know this would help many Third Sector services who are struggling with increasing demands, more complex referrals and spiralling running costs – while donations are falling.

We’re pleased to note the Chancellor’s pledge for funding (£75 million) to expand Violent Reduction Units (VRU) across England and Wales, some of whom provide counselling and support to people who have been involved in violence, or may become involved, or are a victim of violent crime.

But we’d hoped that there would have been much more about serious investment into mental health services to offset the continued mental health crisis facing the nation.  

Another 'missed opportunity'

Martin Bell, our Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “This was yet another missed opportunity to invest in the mental health of the nation.

“Following the disappointing Autumn Statement, we’d hoped that there would be extra support for mental health provision for services which are continuing to buckle under pressure

“A priority for the next Government must be increasing funding for counselling and psychotherapy services in the NHS, schools, community organisations and incentivising employers to enable them to provide mental health support in their workplaces.

“We’ll continue campaigning to all political parties on the need for investment and action that will improve access to psychological therapies, expand paid opportunities for our members to improve the mental health wellbeing of the nation.”