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We need more Mental Health Counsellors - and soon

April 4, 2021 7:10 PM

It's incredibly important we increase the number of clinicians in mental health - psychiatrists and psychologists - but there's another workforce that can make it easier to access help in communities.

Mental Health Counsellors are able to tackle many of the lower level mental health issues that people experience. They can be trained quickly, which is why they can be so useful to the NHS as we put recovery first.

About 720 people are currently training on various HNC/HND counselling courses in Scotland. Not all of them will fit the bill of what we want, but that is the rough number we want to double.

But training comes at a cost - and to become a qualified, a counsellor needs hundreds of hours of work placements. Unsurprisingly, this tends to limit the sort of people who can train to those are able to live off their savings, or be supported by a partner.

We need a much more more diverse set of counsellors bringing different experiences to the profession.

Scottish Liberal Democrats want to offer £5,000 training grants - to help encourage the right folk to make a career switch.

We'll also call for the counselling profession to be brought within NHS workforce planning processes. The Scottish Government has no idea how many counsellors are actually working in Scotland right now.

To be clear, we will set out proposals to increase the number of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists soon. These professions are vital to tackling the backlog of NHS waiting times.

But our plans for counsellors will give thousands of people additional access to early mental health support - and in these difficult times, that can only be good news. mental health