Psychotherapists are some of the hidden ‘key workers’, supporting people’s wellbeing at a time of great challenge and uncertainty. Among some, there have been misconceptions of psychotherapy being a preserve of the rich and ‘worried well’ but our recent member survey showcases how UKCP members are working with some of the most challenging mental health issues across demographics making a fundamental difference to improve thousands of lives.
In a country where the NHS is synonymous with healthcare it is critical that those seeking support for these issues through their GPs or even hospital admission have access to therapies our members so expertly deliver.
Our recent member survey showed 60% of members have worked or currently work within the NHS and, of those not currently working in the NHS, 45% are interested in work in the sector. In the NHS Long Term Plan there was already a clear commitment to substantially expand the NHS workforce, but the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to increase both the scale and urgency of this.
In our conversations with politicians and senior NHS figures across the UK, we have consistently argued that this expansion must include much greater numbers of psychotherapists and counsellors, so that service users have access to the full range of appropriate therapeutic interventions.
As COVID-19 continues to change the mental health landscape, UKCP is campaigning to prevent an over-reliance on the voluntary sector and unpaid work to address the burden of trauma and grief in healthcare professionals, care-home staff and the wider public.
With many of the economic and wider long-term ramifications of the pandemic yet to fully take hold, UKCP is working hard to gain recognition of the professional psychotherapeutic workforce who are ready and equipped to be part of the paid NHS response team to the growing mental health crisis. For too long, there has been a trend towards fewer opportunities for psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors to work in the NHS. In this time of great mental health need, now is the moment to reverse this trend for good.
You can read more about our wider policy goals and work here.