New evidence suggests a 65% increase in demand for private counselling services since 2016, after studies show that mental health trusts are receiving less funding in 2016 than they did in 2012.
2,129 counselling and therapy patients were surveyed by an online service marketplaces (the amazon for professional services). More than three quarters (77%) said they booked because NHS mental health waiting lists are too long.
Bark.com is one of these online marketplaces with more than 10,400 counsellors across the UK, who work with more than 50,000 patients on improving their mental health. When analysing its data they found that London received the most bookings for counselling services, followed by Birmingham and then Liverpool and the most common conditions requiring treatment from a private counsellor are depression and anxiety, followed by eating disorders and then stress. A further report to support this, by NHS providers, found that people in a mental health crisis receive inadequate care for conditions such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders correlating to the idea that they then must seek online services to help.
“We hadn’t anticipated just how many people are booking private counsellors through the site. It’s become one of the most in demand services. This is great for counsellors on our site, but I think it shines a light on how the NHS mental health service is failing people when they need it.”
We reached out to the British association for counselling and psychotherapy (BACP) who responded saying how they are very concerned about the numbers of people who continue to be unable to access psychological therapies on the NHS, or who are facing long waiting times and urge those seeking help outside the NHS to choose a qualified and registered counsellor or psychotherapist.
There has been a five years forward plan established for an additional 3,000 high intensity therapists to be trained by 2020/21. Which should mean that the NHS target to provide psychological therapy to those with common mental health conditions is set to rise from 15 per cent to 25 per cent by 2020.
However, even with this increase most people still won’t be helped and often won’t be offered choice in the therapy they can receive and more access to psychological therapies on the NHS is desperately needed.
Analysis conducted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) in 2017 showed that the income of mental health trusts in England is lower than it was six years ago once inflation is taken into account. In England alone, 62% of mental health trusts reported a lower income at the end of 2016-17 than they had in 2011-12. According to official figures the overall amount of income that mental health trusts received is £105m lower than in 2012.
Kai Feller, co-founder of Bark.com said:
“We hadn’t anticipated just how many people are booking private counsellors through the site. It’s become one of the most in demand services on Bark.com now. This is great for counsellors on our site, but I think it shines a light on how the NHS mental health service is failing people when they need it.
“There will be thousands of people in the UK that can’t afford to pay privately for help. Hopefully our data will show the impact poor funding for NHS mental health services is having.”
Dr Andrew Reeves, Chair of BACP said: “We recommend that NHS England and Health Education England look to the existing highly trained, but underutilised, counselling workforce. The small amount of upskilling or retraining required for BACP counsellors to work within IAPT could be done at a much lower cost and within a much quicker timeframe than training a new workforce.
“BACP is committed to making parity of esteem between mental and physical health a reality. We know that the work of our members changes the lives of individuals and communities. Counselling is crucial in helping people to recover from a mental health problem and helps build resilience. We believe it’s vital to increase the availability of high quality counselling and psychotherapy services, so that the public can access the therapy they want, when they need it.”
- see also: https://www.mentalhealthtoday.co.uk/research-shows-therapists-increasingly-going-online-to-reach-clients
- see also: https://www.mentalhealthtoday.co.uk/blog/therapy/how-to-find-the-right-therapist-for-you
- see also: https://www.mentalhealthtoday.co.uk/heres-why-young-people-are-drawn-to-online-counselling