The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) are campaigning to reaffirm the importance of counsellors and psychotherapists in supporting the nation during the coronavirus crisis.

There is currently an unprecedented health and economic crisis that is affecting the mental wellbeing of large numbers of people and the role of professional therapists is more important than ever. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that rates of depression have doubled during the Covid-19 pandemic, with almost one in five adults experiencing some form of depression since June, which is an increase from around one in ten people last year.

Mental health charities are calling for the UK government to provide more funding for the mental health arena so counsellors and therapists can help as many people as possible during this difficult time. 

 

Do Counsellors need a criminal record check?

It is vital that counsellors obtain a criminal record check so they can be assured they are working within the correct legal requirements. However, the level of check is dependent on the workplace circumstances and their clientele.

If a counsellor has both child and adult clientele who have been referred by a healthcare professional, then it would be necessary for the counsellor to acquire an Enhanced DBS check that is regulated for both adults and children. In today’s current climate, face-to-face meetings have been momentarily paused and counsellors are restructuring their sessions via zoom, however, the level of check does not change – it will remain the same. 

Concurrently, if a counsellor or therapist introduced their counselling service predominately via zoom meetings and they were seeing both adult and children on referral, the level of check required would still be Enhanced with regulated activity despite not seeing them on a face-to-face basis. 

If the situation occurred that a counsellor offered their services on a non-referral basis, they would require an Enhanced level check with regulated activity for working with children, but if they were to solely work with adults they would only require a Basic level check.

 

Do helpline volunteers need a DBS Check?

Mental health charities that offer a chat helpline for adults and are manned by volunteers would not require their staff to obtain a full Enhanced DBS disclosure, but a Basic level check would be desirable but not essential. This difference occurs because the client has not been referred by a healthcare professional and is calling the helpline as an individual. 

Organisations such as the NSPCC have delivered 6,938 counselling sessions to children who have got in touch about Covid-19 since January. The NSPCC offer helplines for children and young people that offer advice, support and information and all lines are manned by volunteers. Volunteers must obtain an Enhanced DBS check because these individuals are under 18 and deemed vulnerable.

If a counsellor only offered their services to adults in need but then decided to help children as well – the criminal record check would need to be adjusted to suit both adults and children.

 

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please do not hesitate to contact Care Check on 0333 777 8575 and we will be happy to help.