Sir, – I read with great interest the letter written by Eoin O'Sullivan (Letters, June 1st). I am the chief executive of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), and our organisation has been lobbying for some time now in the areas that Mr O'Sullivan referred to in his letter.
Indeed, two of the requests that featured in our pre-budget submission 2020 were that the same VAT exemption currently available to a range of registered health professionals be made available to counsellors and psychotherapists, and that the Government expand the existing supports which provide tax relief for medical expenses and a range of health-related benefits under the PRSI system to include counselling and psychotherapy.
A recent public survey carried out on behalf of the IACP found that while 92 per cent of Irish adults think it is a good idea to seek counselling and psychotherapeutic support if struggling with mental health, affordability is a barrier to seeking this support.
One way to increase accessibility not only for people on low incomes but also for the generality of the people in Ireland is to make counselling and psychotherapy services more affordable.
While it is too soon for us to know the full extent of the psychological and mental health impacts of this pandemic, we do know that it will be considerable and that we will be dealing with the aftermath for some time to come.
Increased accessibility to mental health supports is needed now more than ever and, as Mr O’Sullivan rightly points out, “An effective and economical strategy to make mental health services more accessible would be to make counselling and psychotherapy VAT-exempt and to facilitate clients to claim back expenses for mental health costs.” – Yours, etc,
for Counselling and