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Your Vote Matters: The General Election & Mental Health

Dogs at polling stations
Bandit, our unofficial "therapy dog", outside a polling station today

Today, UK citizens have the opportunity to vote for our next Government. At the Empathy Project, we work with lots of different people from all walks of life, with a very wide range of cultures, values and political views. We see our role as to work with all of them equally, and to do so without prejudice or discrimination.

As an organisation we are firmly apolitical. That means we do not take an official side, other than the side of promoting the best possible mental healthcare for everyone. Whoever is elected into Government today, be it whoever becomes Prime Minister or even who your individual MP is, the only thing that is important to our Project is that they understand, value and will champion mental health.

Here at the Project, each of us are trained, registered and regulated by an organisation called the British Association of Counselling & Psycotherapy (BACP). They represent over 60,000 counsellors and psychotherapists across the UK, and frequently lobby and advise MPs on policy changes and areas that need attention.

We'd like to share with you this manifesto written by the BACP, setting out their priorities for the mental health agenda for the next Government.

These are, in no particular order;

  1. Ban conversion therapy, making it illegal to offer "counselling" that seeks to pressure someone into changing their sexuality or gender identity.

  2. Support services and counsellors. Incentivising investment into mental health services like us, and helping us to support the NHS through funded referrals.

  3. Improving access and choice for mental healthcare. Funding counsellors in every school and college across the country, establishing early help community hubs for young people, and increasing the range and availability of NHS mental health therapy.

  4. Remove VAT on counselling. This is something that really hurts the Empathy Project as an organisation. Even as a non-profit, we will soon have to begin charging the full 20% rate of VAT when many of our clients already struggle to pay our current fees. Our only other option would be to absorb this cost ourselves, which seriously hurts our goal of being a financially sustainable organisation.

  5. Lead a stronger vision for our nation's mental health. Appoint a dedicated cabinet Minister for Mental Health to create and lead a 10 year mental health strategy.

You can read the BACP Mental Health Manifesto in full here. In today's General Election, we hope that you will consider voting with mental health in mind.

The Empathy Project is a non-profit community mental health service, established in April 2024 as a Community Interest Company Limited By Guarentee. We are an apolitical organisation offering open-ended, high-quality counselling and psychotherapy to anyone who needs it.

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