NCPS | The Public Accounts Committee Report

The Public Accounts Committee have produced their report around Progress in Improving Mental Health, to which the NCPS gave evidence earlier this year.

You can find our evidence here:

We welcome generally the findings of the report, although we do feel strongly that more could be done. In response to this report, we're once again calling for broader recognition and increased utilisation of the UK's pool of over 60,000 counsellors and psychotherapists on Accredited Registers. We would like to stress the urgency of a more comprehensive approach to mental health treatment.

"Harnessing the untapped potential of our existing workforce of counsellors and psychotherapists could significantly improve access to mental health services," said Meg Moss, Head of Policy & Public Affairs.

These practitioners have been largely overlooked within public discourse surrounding mental health; their expertise underused in spite of the workforce shortages identified in the Committee's report.

We support the report's emphasis on parity of esteem for mental health services, and echo the call for preventive and public health services for mental health to be given equal priority as treatment services.

This aligns with our Direct Access to Counselling Campaign, which promotes early intervention and prevention, and seeks to make counselling services more accessible. You can read more about the campaign here:

A more integrated approach to mental health care is vital, and becoming more and more urgent. The report highlighted the vicious cycle of increasing workload and staff burnout, with staff shortages cited as a primary constraint to improving and expanding services.
We know, though, that these challenges could be alleviated by drawing more fully on the broader mental health workforce, including counsellors and psychotherapists.

"By broadening our perspective on what constitutes the mental health workforce, we can begin to address these critical shortages," said Meg Moss.
This sentiment dovetails with the Committee's own recommendation that the Major Conditions Strategy must clearly articulate how preventive and public health services for mental health will be expanded, including securing the right workforce.

We're also concerned that the current service model may be too heavily weighted towards treatment at the expense of prevention and early intervention. A more balanced approach, centred on prevention, early intervention, and long-term support, can lead to more effective and sustainable mental health care.

NCPS has been collaborating with the team at TAC Access for over 2 years now. The platform is the first national directory for children and young people’s needs and offers a seamless connection between therapists and commissioning bodies - including schools, colleges and parents. TAC Access clearly demonstrate that the skills and technology are available to support the utilisation of the wider therapeutic workforce, and that this is something that has been sorely needed for both young people as well as adults.

Julian Rose is a former head teacher and leads on communications for TAC Access. He says, “Our relationship with professional bodies such as NCPS has been pivotal in ensuring that needy children and young people have rapid access to the support that they need."

We, and our members, are ready and waiting to support a move towards a more comprehensive and preventative mental health strategy. Utilising all available resources, including the vast network of counsellors and psychotherapists on Accredited Registers, is a crucial part of that evolution.

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