A recent survey by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has found that the stigma that was once attached to psychotherapy is almost gone and that attitudes are now significantly different towards mental health problems than what they were six years ago.
The results showed that 94 percent of the 1,400 adults surveyed, consider it acceptable to have some form of psychotherapy for mental health problems like anxiety and depression and that it is now more acceptable to talk about emotional problems than it was in the past. Back in a similar survey in 2004, the figure was just 67 percent.
The survey also found that almost 90 percent of those taking part in the survey believed that counselling and psychotherapy should be made available to everyone on the NHS.
“This survey represents a significant shift in people’s attitudes towards therapy – practically a revolution – at a time when mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are far more common than was realised” said the association’s president, Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University.
“Mental health conditions currently affect one in six of the population at an annual cost to England alone of pounds 77bn. It’s no accident that the growth of the problem has encouraged mass support for more effective treatments” said Cooper.
According to National Statistics, 1.3 million people a year receive some form of treatment for mental health problems so the chances are you will be affected yourself at some point or will at least know someone close to you who is.
At the moment the most common treatment for depression is some form of anti-depressant drug. Currently, around 40 million antidepressant prescriptions are issued each year in the UK alone. However, drugs won’t treat the cause of the depression, only the symptoms. Counselling and therapy on the other hand can change the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us.
The BACP survey revealed that a whopping 83 percent believe that it’s better to have therapy and talk about your problems than to rely on medication.
Another change identified by the survey was that people are starting to seek help for mental health problems earlier than they used to and 95 percent recognise that getting help will help prevent their symptoms from getting worse.