Investment is the only way to boost mental health services | Letter

There was excess demand for psychological support before Covid hit, and your article (Millions in England face ‘second pandemic’ of mental health issues, 21 February) highlights the impact the pandemic is having on the nation’s mental health. We need investment now to expand the mental health workforce in the NHS, schools, charities and voluntary services to support the millions who are experiencing mental health problems.

It’s not simply a shortage of workers or delays in training them that’s preventing people accessing services, but a lack of political will and funds to bring existing skilled and experienced professionals into the workforce in greater numbers.

We represent 45,000 counsellors and psychotherapists who are ready to enter the workforce now to support the country’s mental health. We know that counselling can have a transformative effect, and the public know that too. Our public perceptions survey with YouGov found that 85% of people in the UK think that it’s a good idea to seek counselling or psychotherapy for a problem before it gets out of hand. Ultimately, early help is key and too few people are able to access services quickly.

Investing in life-changing mental health services is critical to our recovery from the pandemic, and will deliver extensive cost-saving benefits to government budgets as well as tackling the deep-rooted inequalities that hold so many of our fellow citizens back. We’re committed to increasing access to therapy services. We now need the government and those who fund counselling services to match that commitment to enable the recruitment of more counsellors and psychotherapists.
Dr Hadyn Williams
Chief executive, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

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