NHS therapy services won’t be able to manage increased demand driven by the cost of a living crisis as they are already thousands of therapists short, The Independent has been told.
NHS counselling services in England are not meeting therapy access targets due to a shortfall of 2,000 workers, according to sources.
The findings come as a poll by the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and YouGov, shared with The Independent, found that almost one in two adults felt the cost of living crisis was affecting their mental health.
According to the survey of more than 2,000 adults, 25 to 34 years old were most likely to say the cost of the living crisis was impacting their mental health.
Adam Jones, policy and public affairs manager for the UKCP, said “I think what we’re concerned about is the fact that already, there is a record level of demand for mental health services. We also know there are record rates of prescription for antidepressant medication as well. We’re concerned the capacity currently is already falling short.
“So with the rising demand going forward, we’re concerned that services are going to be stretched, waiting time is going to go up, average number of therapy sessions received is going to go down
He warned that although the NHS is focussed on training new therapists, there was already an existing workforce of psychotherapists and counsellors who don’t work in the NHS.
“We’d like to see more targeted recruitment of psychotherapists and counsellors who are already trained, and so that most would only require a short adaptive training to be able to work in an NHS context.”
Source: The Independent, 23 November 2022