male counsellingMore than a quarter (28%) of people have consulted a counsellor or psychotherapist, which suggests that mental health stigma is lessening, according to a survey.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s (BACP) 2014 public attitudes survey show a significant increase in the number of people accessing therapy since its last public attitudes survey in 2010 when only 1 in 5 said that they had consulted a counsellor or psychotherapist.

Women are most likely to have had therapy, with nearly a third (32%) saying they had used the services of a counsellor or psychotherapist, compared to 23% of men.

The highest prevalence of people having therapy was in the group aged between 35 and 44, where 38% of people have had some sort of therapy.

In total, over half of Britons have either had therapy themselves, or know someone who has, suggesting it is becoming part of the mainstream.

BACP’s survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI in March, was completed by 2,084 adults aged 16-75 from across the UK. 

BACP governor, Dr Andrew Reeves, said: “The significant increase in the number of people consulting a counsellor or psychotherapist is evidence that people are seeing more and more value in these extremely effective interventions.

“These results strongly suggest that the stigma attached to seeking counselling has diminished considerably since our previous attitudes surveys in 2004 and 2010.

“Seeing a counsellor or psychotherapist is increasingly considered an ordinary, everyday activity which many people choose to do in order to improve their mental wellbeing.”