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Click here for the petition to parliment: Ensure counsellors and psychotherapists are added to the list of critical worker – Petitions (parliament.uk)

Please support my petition by taking just a few minutes to sign and sharing this post. I need 10,000 signatures for a response from parliament and 100,000 for it to be considered for debate in parliament.

Ensure counsellors and psychotherapists are added to the list of critical workers

With mental health risks rising and Lockdown 3 making them accelerate further, people need all the help they can get. Yet some of those we most rely on for that service – therapeutic counsellors and psychotherapists – have been omitted from the key workers list. When schools are closed they have to focus on childcare, rather than using their key skills to help.

This petition has been created to appeal to the government to add fully qualified counsellors and psychotherapists to the list of COVID-19 key workers under the Health & Social Care category. Exceptions have been granted for some psychotherapists by being members of governing bodies, such as the National Council of Psychotherapists, or if you work for a company or charity but that still excludes a significant number of self-employed counsellors, tens of thousands, that we really need in action.

Counsellors and psychotherapists work with the public at their most vulnerable, even on the most ordinary of days. However, these aren’t ordinary days. At the beginning of lockdown back in March, we were very lucky with the weather and whilst it was tough, being able to see loved ones and friends in gardens, socially distanced, helped people to cope. Now with much stricter rules and regulations in place and due to the longevity of suffering, there is a clear decline in mental health. The situation impacts people in different ways, no-one is infallible; whether you’re a teacher, NHS staff, a business owner, have physical or mental health problems, have a family or live alone. Nobody expected COVID-19 to cause this much havoc and time presses on.

Counsellors and psychotherapists currently work online but are also required to maintain seeing clients in face-to-face physical sessions, due to the specialised roles in areas such as trauma, clinical mental health and domestic violence, where it is in the best interest of the client. We have been briefed on COVID-19 safety protocols, have risk assessments in place and have access to PPE to keep us and our clients safe.

We are still working yet we’re not considered key workers, despite being an essential to support our vulnerable clients. The inability to send children in as key worker children means that clients can’t be supported in the same manner, both privacy wise, as well as the inability to complete both work and home schooling for children. This means withdrawing from our clients when they need us the most, or pushing ourselves towards the point of burnout, neither of which is helpful. Whilst we are not listed on the key support workers list, parents can appeal to the school but it’s to the discretion of individual schools and often not accepted. This petition strives to remove any doubt or decision making around the subject.

I’m very aware that its possible to do a cheap online counselling course, which calls itself a diploma so schools will need to check submissions. There are several ways this can be achieved I.e. proof of certification (minimum of diploma level qualified or above or university qualification as per CPCAB requirements), registration to a governing body such as BACP, UKCP, public liability insurance certificate or details listed on the counselling directory. The information is fairly easy to find and whilst it does provide a little extra work for the schools, it’s not a good enough reason for counsellors to be omitted from the key workers list.

Please help to support this petition: it’s such an easy problem to fix. There are 1000’s of very valuable counsellors and psychotherapists that fulfil a vital role as registered mental healthcare providers and we want to support our clients in the best way possible. The fallout from COVID is all around us – please allow us to support our clients. We work with mental health, it is a critical and vital service – people need the help right now more than ever.

Click here for the petition to parliment: Ensure counsellors and psychotherapists are added to the list of critical worker – Petitions (parliament.uk)

Phone: 07984 449342
Watford WD24