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

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

It is not simply a shortage of workers or delays in training them that prevents people from accessing services, but a lack of political will and funds to bring more of the existing trained and experienced professionals into the workforce.

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

Investing in life-changing mental health services is critical to our recovery from the pandemic and will bring extensive cost-saving benefits to government budgets, as well as address the deep-seated inequalities that hold many of our fellow citizens back. We are committed to increasing access to therapy services. We now need the government and those who fund counseling services to match that commitment to allow more counselors and psychotherapists to be hired.
Dr Hadyn Williams
Executive Director, British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy

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