BACP Definition of Counselling and information 

Counselling and psychotherapy are umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over a short or long term to help them bring about effective change or enhance their well being.

The BACP Register is the first psychological therapists’ register to be accredited under a new scheme set up by the Department of Health and administered by an independent body, accountable to Parliament.

Members of the public can now choose a counsellor or psychotherapist belonging to a register approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.





The World Health Organisation estimates approximately 450 million people worldwide, have a mental health problem.  One in four British adults experience at least one diagnosed mental health problem in any one year, and one in six experience symptoms at any one time. This means that mental illness is the largest single cause of disability in our society, yet despite this, experiences of discrimination continue to affect significant numbers of people.

 So what effect can this discrimination have? It can affect people’s attitudes, keep people isolated, and stop them seeking help. It prevents people engaging in ordinary life, working, being educated, realising their potential and taking part in civil society. Also, when applying for jobs, more than 50% of people who have experienced a mental health problem have concealed the fact when completing an application form. Public Health England has the role of taking forward initiatives that can help tackle problems such as stigma and discrimination. They aim to combine these with health promotion activities such as improving the physical health of individuals with mental health problems in a way that promotes mainstream social contact and engagement.

 Mental health problems can sometimes be related to other factors and these include homelessness, social deprivation, and substance misuse.  How can mental health then be determined? A person is said to be in good mental health if they make the most of their potential, can cope, and play a full role in their family, work and community. We are all different and we all have times when we feel down, get stressed out or become fearful of something.  Most of the time we can cope with these feelings and overcome them, but sometimes these feelings can develop into something more serious, and we may need to seek help.

 Mental health can change due to circumstances, and as we move through different stages in our life.  Sometimes a traumatic experience can trigger it off.   Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain. Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men, but are more likely to seek help from their GP or visit a therapist.  Men are less likely to seek help, and suicide rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women.

 How can we stay mentally healthy?  The Mental Health Foundation’s advice is, talk about our feelings, and do some form of regular exercise. It keeps our brains and our other vital organs healthy.  A well balanced diet, drinking sensibly, and keeping in touch with other people, are essential. We should ask for help if we need it, and if we can’t discuss our problems with our friends or immediate family, seek professional help.  Take time out and relax.   Accept who we are and care for others. 

 Community life has deteriorated.  People are spending more time isolated, at home, at work, or in their spare time, only communicating with the aid of some internet-related appliance. People are less likely to make eye contact with each other when out walking, and it is rare these days to exchange a smile or greeting with others.  Modern supermarkets and retail outlets have replaced the corner shop, meaning it is less likely you will exchange some sort of banter with the shop assistant who serves you.  

 It is time we changed things.  We need to be pro-active and communicate more with others, exchange our thoughts, feelings, worries, and discuss our needs, fears, and happiness.  The old saying ‘ A problem shared is a problem halved’ is good advice.  Let’s listen to the good advice and stay mentally healthy. It makes sense.

 Barbara Burton