The MHCPC Counselling Referral Service (CRS) was established in 1985 to provide affordable counselling for the relief of those in the local community suffering with mental health issues. Since its foundation, the CRS has seen numbers of requests for assessments and referrals increase year upon year. More recently the rate of referrals has more than doubled, and this increase is expected to continue as NHS resources are stretched and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect mental health, including crippling anxiety and depression in all age groups.
Many of the most vulnerable patients are referred from the NHS but unfortunately the CRS does not receive any government funding despite indirectly supporting the health service. In addition, longer term psychodynamic counselling is no longer offered in the Borough of Barnet.
Currently the CRS is able to offer low cost, sufficiently long term, psychodynamic counselling by making referrals to experienced senior trainee volunteers as well as counsellors and psychotherapists willing to accept low-cost patients. However, given the current situation which is largely determined by the inherent pressures remaining from the pandemic, the CRS is struggling to ensure that the ever-growing demand is met.
The CRS is fundraising to enable the CRS to continue to deliver this vital provision to the local community at the increased level now required.