Our Vice President Luciana Berger has called for a long-term action plan for mental health support to address the implications of the coronavirus crisis.
Writing in the Huff Post, Luciana backed our campaign urging the government to ensure the nation’s mental health needs are met in the aftermath of the pandemic.
She said the long-term mental health challenges include bereavement and loss, anxiety and loneliness, and relationships as well as the impact on key workers, BAME communities and the psychological effects of recession.
“For many people who face anxieties, depression, trauma or grief that dominate their lives, a vital source of support may be a counsellor or psychotherapist,” Luciana said.
“As vice president of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), I’ve witnessed how therapists are at the frontline of providing support for those in need.
“But at the same time, over the past few months, many providers, independent practitioners and charities have seen funding cuts to their service and the number of funded sessions reduce.
“The BACP expects demand for counsellors and psychotherapists to increase over the next few weeks and months, as people recognise they need some support.
“That’s why I’m backing the Association’s calls for the government to put in place a long-term plan to ensure the nation’s mental health needs are met, and to work in collaboration with professional organisations and service providers.”
Luciana added: “Counsellors and psychotherapists are the people who are listening to those in need right now, helping them to explore and understand how they are feeling about this unprecedented situation and their own unique personal circumstances. They are helping people come to terms with what they have been through and supporting them to thrive as they move on to their own ‘new normal’.
“Counselling and psychotherapy must be accessible to those most affected by the disease, including BAME communities, families in deprived areas and frontline workers, and the millions who do not receive mental health support through their employer.
“We need a campaign to explain how to ask for help, what kinds of support are available, and to ensure people are matched to qualified therapists. And ministers need to remedy the fact that many therapists are self-employed and fall through the cracks of the government’s existing support schemes.
“The nation is hurting, and the process of healing must start now.”