LETTER: Mental health care requires psychiatry and counselling

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THE so-called "worried well" suffer acutely and painfully, albeit in perhaps a different way to those with acute or chronic psychosis. Moreover, all will have contributed to the NHS. It is acknowledged that counselling and the psychotherapies keep people out of doctor's surgeries and help reduce the nation's pill bill.

Our concern is that there is no such thing as a licence to practise counselling in this country, unlike in most of the United States. People can set up with little or no training. Training is offered in a vast range of institutions, some of which are divorced from any clinical base.

If we are to help and contain people on the continuum of mental ill health, we need a national policy, realistic funding and regulated training with a licensing of practitioners.

Ruth Archer, Mary Anne Coate, Tim Woolmer and Ann Kutek

Westminster Pastoral Institute

London W8