Charli XCX has shared her thoughts on the lingering "stigma" that surrounds mental health therapy in the UK.
The singer-songwriter, who has just released her third album Charli, said she has been "nervous" about accessing therapy in the past, but is now keen to try it.
“I’m not anti-therapy at all. I’ve never been anti it; I think it’s brilliant and great and I think everybody should have it because it’s like going to the doctors," the pop artist said during an interview with Julie Adenuga on Apple Music's Beats 1 radio.
"It’s like you go for a physical checkup and so you should do the same for your mental health."
XCX, who recently revealed that she explores her experiences of depression on her new album, continued: "But I feel like there is this stigma in the UK about, ‘Oh therapy, it’s a bit LA isn’t it?’ I really do think that. I think it’s less common here to be very open about it."
She added: "I think there’s also a thought that only really rich people can get a therapist and I don’t think that’s the case.”
A variety of free psychological therapies including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) are available for free on the NHS. However, waiting times for first and second treatments can vary dramatically from region to region. Parliament was told last year that waits vary from 16 days in Waltham Forest to as much as 167 days in Leicester.
Meanwhile, research by Mental Health First Aid England has found that up to three quarters of people in England with diagnosable mental health problems receive absolutely no treatment at all. This suggests that stigma and ignorance about therapy and other forms of mental health treatment remain disappointingly widespread.
"Therapy can be painful, upsetting, uncontrollable and exhausting, but it can also be a lifeline," Refinery29's Sarah Raphael wrote in an article about the lessons she learned in therapy. "And, if you find the right therapist, they can become an active hero in the story of your life."
If you are experiencing anxiety and are in need of crisis support, please call Anxiety UK’s 24-hour hotline on 0844 775 774.