Breathing Space is a debt respite scheme which can provide protection for people living in England and Wales who are in debt and receiving mental health crisis treatment. Find out how to submit an application through a healthcare professional or by yourself.
Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space is a debt protection option for people receiving mental health crisis treatment.
It gives temporary protection from creditors including freezing of most interest, fees and charges on the debt and pausing most enforcement action and contact from creditors.
The protections it gives customers will provide the time and space to stabilise their financial situation, engage with advice and find a solution.
To qualify for Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space you must be receiving mental health crisis treatment, which means you:
An Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) will need to use their professional judgement to decide whether your treatment constitutes mental health crisis treatment.
GOV.uk features guidance for AMHPs, including on what constitutes a mental health disorder of a serious nature within the Breathing Space regulationsOpens in a new window More information on how you can find an AMHP is available below.
You must also have eligible debts; most personal debts qualify for Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space.
To apply for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space, you will first need evidence that you meet the eligibility criteria and are receiving treatment for a mental health crisis. This needs to be provided by an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP).
An AMHP means someone approved under section 114(1) of the Mental Health Act 1983 by any local social services authority in England, or approved under that subsection by any local social services authority in Wales.
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Next you need an Approved Mental Health Professional to sign your evidence form before you send it with your application submission.
Steps which may help get a signed evidence form include:
The evidence form requests details for a nominated point of contact, as well as additional information that will help the debt advice provider process the application.
You can refer yourself for a mental health crisis breathing space, or someone can apply on your behalf.
Once evidence of mental health crisis care detailed above is obtained and signed, any of the following people can submit a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space application:
Once the form is complete, you submit the Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space application.
In England, referrals will be received by Rethink Mental Illness and their specialist Mental Health & Money Advice team.
In Wales, referrals will be received by Citizens Advice Cymru.
Once the application has been submitted an authorised debt advice provider will review it and decide whether it is appropriate to enter you into a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space.
On many occasions they will enter you straight away, but in some instances they may request further information from you, the person submitting your application (if this is not you) or the Approved Mental Health Professional. This might be about, for example, the specific debts you have, or the type of treatment you are receiving.
They will send you a response about the success of your application to your email address.
If you think you might be eligible for a Mental Health Breathing Space yourself:
If you are an Approved Mental Health Professional or other healthcare professional:
Standard Breathing Space might also be available if you are struggling with debt and mental health but are not receiving mental health crisis treatment.
Find out where to get debt advice using the MoneyHelper Debt Advice Locator ToolOpens in a new window
More information about Standard Breathing Space and eligibility criteria can be found in our guide What is Breathing Space and how can it help me? Opens in a new window