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Half of British psychotherapists turn away patients after cases rise by 10%, poll reveals


Half of British psychotherapists turn away patients after cases rise by 10%, poll reveals – as three quarters see decline in patient mental health

  • Half of UK psychotherapists have stopped seeing new patients research shows
  • Three-quarters of the therapists said they saw decline in patients’ mental health
  • 90% of highlighted patients’ finances worries about were cause of poor health

Half of British psychotherapists have closed their consulting room doors to new patients due to an unprecedented surge in demand, according to research.

In a poll of 3,000 mental health professionals by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), it was also discovered that there has been a ten per cent rise in the number of over-stretched clinicians compared to last year.

Three-quarters of the therapists polled said they had seen a decline in patients’ mental health since this time last year.

Nearly 90 per cent highlighted patients’ worries about finances as a key cause of this. Anxiety related to the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine are also factors.

Half British psychotherapists have closed their consulting room doors to new patients due to an unprecedented surge in demand, according to research (file photo)

Half British psychotherapists have closed their consulting room doors to new patients due to an unprecedented surge in demand, according to research (file photo)

‘People may have anticipated that mental health would improve this year as we emerge from the Covid pandemic,’ says Fiona Ballantine Dykes, deputy chief executive of the BACP.

‘But as therapists we’re seeing the profound impact that social, economic and global issues are having on the population’s wellbeing.’

Some two million Britons have regular psychological therapy, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Of those, 1.6 million receive support on the NHS.

Studies show that the treatment, where patients talk about their problems with a trained mental health worker, can be highly effective for relieving symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.

Official guidance from NICE recommends psychological therapy alongside antidepressant medication as the standard treatment for most mental health problems.

Some two million Britons have regular psychological therapy, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Of those, 1.6 million receive support on the NHS (file photo)

Some two million Britons have regular psychological therapy, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Of those, 1.6 million receive support on the NHS (file photo)

The coronavirus pandemic increased the number of patients requiring support, with one in four therapists seeing an increase in eating disorders and a fifth seeing an increase in substance abuse, according to the BACP.

Last year the number of referrals for NHS mental health treatment in England reached record heights.

Between January and December 2021, there were 3.3 million referrals to adult services and just over one million referrals of under-18s, according to NHS digital data.

Overall, the number of mental health appointments rose by just under 15 per cent between 2019 and 2021.

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