Have you ever wondered about the real cost, of therapy? Or rather how much does it cost if you have a problem and don’t come to therapy, or support your employee in accessing therapy? A recent report by the mental health foundation; the U.K.’s leading charity working with the needs of people with mental health problems, shine some light on this question.
Often as therapists, we are told that we cost too much, with the average price, locally in my area of £50 for a 50 minute session, one would feel quite justified in thinking that that is a reasonable hourly rate, considering the type of training, therapist undergoes, as well as supervision, continuing professional development (CPD and maintaining an ethical and competent practice; all of which are mandatory requirements for psychotherapist /counsellors.
How much does not come to therapy cost the UK?
So how much does it cost the UK in a whole not to come to therapy? According to the mental health foundation 3 in every 10 employees, will have a mental health problem, in any one year. According to the office of national statistics the average small company employs around 250 people. So that is 75 employees each year, in an average small company, with a mental health problem. It’s hard to work out how much productivity is lost, but having 75 of your employees suffering with a mental health problem each year is staggering.
The real cost of mental health!
According to the mental health foundation report, stress-related sickness accounts for £4 billion worth of lost revenue, for UK Inc. Of course is hard to really quantify this as many people suffer in silence. Having a mental health problem is not like having a broken leg, there are no visible signs, but there are definitely effects.
If we look at work-related stress, this is more common than one would think, with a recent survey carried out, canvassing 270 company line managers in which 88% of them claim to have moderate or high levels of stress in their work, and with 39% of those surveyed claiming to have an increasing level of stress over the past year. Although stress is a necessary part of everyday life. Without a doubt, some level of stress is good, for us as humans. Moreover, on the other hand, excess stress can be the principal cause of many other health problems, apart from the obvious effects such as, impaired judgement, lack of decision-making and exhaustion, stress can be the start of other health problems, such as depression.
So how does this all relate to therapy, if companies, line managers, and employees were more enlightened into the benefits of the talking therapy generally, this could save companies a great deal of money. One only has to look at the figures above to see this has validity, supporting someone with the cost of therapy, furthermore, this can send a big message to employees, inasmuch as they are would be supported through mental illness, and thus be ready to talk about this more openly, if they feel they can come forward and asked for help, reducing the stigma of mental health.
Simply being heard, by a non-judgemental, compassionate, professionally trained therapist can help people quickly recover from mental health problems.
The real financial cost to therapy?
Anecdotal evidence would say that most people generally need roughly 6 to 12 sessions before they feel as if they’re able to cope with the problem, whether that be stress, marital or relational breakup or a recent bereavement or loss.
Simply doing the maths, on average, 12 sessions will cost £600. The loss in productivity, for small companies, for a person who has a mental health problem alone must be double this, if the person with a mental health problem is making mistakes, and having to be carried by other members of his or her team, this could have a knock-on effect, in morale of others around the person with the mental health problem.
In an ideal world companies would have an “on call a professional counsellor/psychotherapist” who would look after the mental health of the workforce.
Just doing the maths for an average company of 250 people, 75 of which have a mental health problem, offering them psychotherapy/ counselling for 12 sessions a year would cost on average £45,000
Time to rethink?
Maybe it’s time to rethink our attitudes towards psychotherapy,/counselling?