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People cancelling therapy sessions because they can no longer afford them – BACP

P

eople receiving mental health support during the cost-of-living crisis are being forced to cancel therapy sessions because they can no longer afford them, a survey suggests.

Two thirds (66%) of therapists say cost-of-living concerns are causing a decline in people’s mental health, according to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Its survey of members found that 60% of respondents were seeing clients cutting back on therapy sessions due to money worries.

And almost half (47%) of therapists reported that clients are cancelling or pausing sessions because they can no longer afford them.

The BACP said it is worried people will not get the help they need.

It surveyed 2,983 of its counsellors and psychotherapists online between July 6 and August 3.

The majority of its 60,000 members are private therapists but also include therapists who work for the NHS or charities.

It found that 49% of therapists said clients are cutting back on activities that benefit their mental health, such as gym memberships.

Some 61% of those surveyed said their clients are anxious about whether they can afford to pay their household bills, and over half (52%) said clients are reporting losing sleep due to money worries.

Martin Bell, BACP head of policy and public affairs, said: “People are already making difficult decisions about what they choose to pay for, and this will have devastating consequences on their mental health and wellbeing.

“What our members are already seeing in the therapy room is just the tip of the iceberg of how the cost-of-living crisis is affecting people’s mental health.

“We fear this will only get worse over the next few months and is on top of the growing mental health need which arose from the pandemic.”

Mr Bell said there needs to be a greater focus on addressing the inequalities which result in poorer mental heath, and more access to free or affordable therapeutic support.

A Government spokesperson said: “We are expanding and transforming mental health services with over £2.3 billion of additional funding a year by 2024 – enabling an extra two million people across England to get help.

“We know people are worried about rising energy bills and we are providing £37 billion worth of support throughout the year which is specifically targeted at those who need it most – like low-income households, pensioners and those with disabilities.”

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