NCPS | On the Upcoming General Election and the Future of Counselling…

Our Vision for Mental Health in the General Election

As the country prepares for a General Election, the team at the NCPS are busy behind the scenes preparing for whatever government comes next. We're advocating for policies that centre human connection in mental health support, and ensure access to counselling & psychotherapy no matter who you are, or where you are.

Our campaign, Therapeutic Relationships: The Human Connection, calls on the next government to prioritise human-centred mental health support, and - alongside our long-standing campaigns around Direct Access to Counselling and Access to Counselling for Every Child - we're calling for expanded access to trained therapists, and ensuring every human - child, and adult - gets the support they need.

It's vital that counselling & psychotherapy are afforded better recognition within public policy; not only from the practical, utilitarian perspective of a significant, available workforce, but because counsellors & psychotherapists offer a form of therapeutic support that is considered vital for mental health support by a large majority of the UK public, yet so few are able to access it.

Our Key Asks

  • Prioritise human practitioners in public funding and policies
    • Increase funding for trained therapists to ensure accessible, human-centred mental health support
    • Emphasise the importance of face-to-face interactions in therapeutic settings
  • Establish guidelines and transparency for digital tools
    • Implement clear guidelines outlining the limitations of digital tools in mental health support
    • Require service providers to disclose their use of AI or digital tools, ensuring patients can make informed choices
  • Commit to investing in research and infrastructure
    • Fund research to identify key therapeutic success factors
    • Invest in infrastructure to ensure timely access to effective, human-centred care provided by accredited practitioners

Expanding Access to Counselling

Direct Access to Counselling & Psychotherapy through Accredited Registers

  • Introduce a program that allows people to access the type of mental health support, and support provider, that works for them
    • Utilise existing programmes such as personal health budgets, social prescribing etc to support this
    • Patients to choose a therapist from an Accredited Register, ensuring they receive safe, ethical, and effective care that is personalised to their needs, instead of a one-size-fits-all solution that does not, in fact, fit all

Counselling for Every Child

  • Expand Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) to incorporate Barnardo's MHST+ model, including a counsellor in every MHST.
  • Roll out this model nationwide to achieve 100% coverage in all educational establishments, ensuring every child has access to professional mental health support.
  • Fund the rollout of Early Support Hubs to all locations across the UK

Support Our Campaign

We need your support to make these changes a reality. Here’s how you can help:

  • Write to Your MP: Use our template email to urge your MP to support our campaign and consider our policies as they undertake the role of government
  • Spread the Word: Share information about our campaign on social media using the hashtags #thehumanconnection, #therapeuticrelationships, and #hereforhumanity. You can find us on Facebook, on X, and on LinkedIn.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with our campaign activities and upcoming events through our website, social media posts, and magazine

Supporting the Sector

Alongside our colleagues in the mental health, counselling & psychotherapy sectors, including BACP, the Centre for Mental Health and the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition, we're also calling for the next Government to:

  • Fund mental health services fairly. The Government must make a long-term commitment to funding NHS mental health services and local authority social care at levels that enable them to expand the workforce sufficiently to meet rising levels of need
  • Tackle long waits for mental health support by implementing new access and waiting time standards for both child and adult mental health services, with sufficient resources to achieve them.
  • Give children and young people easy access to mental health support. Expand Mental Health Support Teams to all schools and colleges in England and fund a nationwide network of early support hubs for young people in every local authority area.
  • Modernise the Mental Health Act to reduce the use of coercion and tackle racial disparities in the mental health system. This must be backed up by investment in the mental health estate and action to address safety concerns in mental health hospitals.
  • Appoint a cabinet-level Minister for Mental Health to lead a new cross Government 10-year mental health and wellbeing plan
  • Fund the roll out of early help community hubs for 11 to 25-year-olds across England
  • Commit at least an additional £1.7bn per year for Integrated Care Systems to deliver a comprehensive mental health pathway for all babies, children and young people aged 0-25.
  • Embed whole educational approaches to mental health and wellbeing across all education settings.
  • Recruit more trained counsellors and psychotherapists into the NHS to meet workforce expansion targets and increase access to treatment
  • Provide tax incentives to support more employer investment in workplace counselling and therapeutic coaching
  • Ensure that third sector mental health providers are given sustainable contracts and appropriate funding for NHS referrals
  • Remove VAT on counselling and psychotherapy services to improve accessibility
  • Bring forward a ban on conversion therapy within the next Parliament
  • Bring forward reform of the Mental Health Act 1983, to ensure that children and young people’s rights are protected and promoted, and that they receive high quality and compassionate care
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