Austerity means longer waiting lists for counselling for stress and anxiety

The Austerity Report 2012 asked 300 GPs how they felt the recession was affecting their patients’ health. They were asked only to consider those instances where patients specifically linked their behaviours or conditions with financial hardship or concerns about job security during their appointment with the doctor (


According to the report summarized in Therapy Today of December 2012, GPs felt that worries over financial security, coupled with people working longer hours, have raised people’s stress levels. Seventy six per cent of GPs believed that the economic downturn has had a negative impact on their patients’ health in the last four years. Seventy seven per cent of GPs felt there has been an increase in new cases of mental health conditions in the last four years linked to the economic climate; 54 per cent said that the greatest increase was in anxiety, and 46 per cent said the greatest increase was in depression. Sixty two per cent of GPs said they have seen an increase in contacts from patients who appear to be more in financial distress than in need of help for a health condition.


One GP from Cumbria quoted in the report said: ‘We really have nothing to offer people who are depressed/anxious regarding work/money. What they need is decent jobs. Pills and an eight-month wait for very poor quality counselling is not going to make any difference.’


Another GP from the North West said: ‘I think just letting the patient talk and if they understand that you are sympathetic to their plight they feel better. I guess we are prescribing more antidepressants; I reluctantly refer patients for counselling because the waiting times are ridiculously long now.’


Other options for those who feel that they might benefit from counselling in the Hastings area are to turn to one of the local charities like Counselling Plus or to approach one of the qualified private counsellors in the area. Private practitioners are generally able to see clients quickly, without the need for them to go on a waiting list.


added at 12:12am on 19th December 2012

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