The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is calling for the Governments across the UK to overhaul opportunities for investment in employee mental health support, as a new poll shows four in five (79%)[1] workers’ mental health is negatively affected by the cost of living crisis and inflation.

A BACP report reveals that financial stress from the cost of living crisis is ‘one of the greatest threats’ to the mental health of the UK’s workforce.

It’s urging the UK Governments to consider several simple steps to transform employees’ mental health and boost the UK economy – costing businesses over £101bn each year due to days lost, presenteeism and the impact on productivity.[2]

Recommendations include investment in accessible and dedicated mental health support for small businesses – which employ 16.7m[3] people in the UK. Mental health is often overlooked by small businesses due to costs.

BACP is clear that to address the extensive financial cost of mental health to the economy can also be improved if there is an economic review of how Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) workplace counselling services used by UK employers are treated in fiscal policy. This includes considering introducing a range of tax relief and Benefit-in-Kind measures to encourage a greater uptake in accessible mental health support, including workplace counselling.

BACP’s survey revealed that three in four (77%) employees said that the rise in the cost of living and inflation has affected their positivity for the future, and more than three in five (67%) said it has caused anxiety around being able to afford everyday essentials (such as bills, food, and the mortgage / rent). Over half of the UK’s workforce also admitted that their sleep had been negatively impacted.

Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard, Director of Professional Standards, Policy, and Research, at BACP said:

“It’s clear from our research that rising prices and financial stress is one of the greatest threats facing the mental wellbeing of the UK workforce. It’s unequally impacting the nation’s most vulnerable, so we’re calling for our Governments to act now as more and more people struggle to cope with their daily financial situations and leading to the UK economy losing billions each year to mental health related sick days. The cost of living crisis and inflation is causing personal worries to spill over into the workplace, but it doesn’t have to be this way – especially if more people were able to access counselling when they needed it most.

“Government has a responsibility to help make counselling more accessible for all, which is why dedicated mental health support must be made available for employees within more small businesses. The UK economy would see considerable improvements if businesses were offered more incentives to invest in in Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) workplace counselling services. The counselling and psychotherapy workforce has the expertise and capacity to be a pivotal tool for reversing trends in deteriorating national mental health, keeping them economically active before things reach crisis point.

Karl Bennett, Wellbeing Director at employee benefits platform Vivup, said:

“We’re at a tipping point, employers are streets ahead of statutory services in terms of understanding the needs of their people. We can take a key role in helping the economy grow and recover, yet we’re still trying to get recognition from Government that some very simple, low-cost financial levers would help more people access our services and free up public sector resources…it’s frustrating.”

BACP’s cost of living report and recommendations has been issued to Parliamentarians and key decision makers and is based on the expert testimony of therapists and services who have provided vital mental health support to people during these challenging times.

For more information about the report and details of the recommendations please visit