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Mental Health Services

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make an estimate of the number of NHS counsellors required to deal with the increase in mental health problems resulting from the economic downturn in 2009. (276618)

No estimate has been made at national level, as the provision of mental health staff is decided by the national health service locally. However, we know that demand for psychological help rises in economic downturns, so the Secretary of State for Health and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions announced in March a £13 million package of measures to support people with distress. The package involves accelerating the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme and ensuring that all the programme’s services recruit employment support co-ordinators to join up health and job centre services in ways that are tailor-made for individuals’ different situations. As a result of these measures, every primary care trust in the country will be beginning to offer these services next year.