- What is a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space?
- What are the eligibility criteria?
- What is this single point of entry and who can use it?
- How to submit an application for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space
- Submit a referral for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space
- Where can I find more information?
Welcome to the single point of entry for the Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space
This page provides some information about the scheme, eligibility criteria, and a route to submit an application.
What is a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space?
Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space is a debt respite scheme launched in England and Wales on 4 May 2021. It provides protections for people in debt who are who are resident in England and Wales who are in debt as receiving specific types of mental health crisis treatment (see below). The protections include pausing enforcement action and contact from creditors and freezing interest and charges on their debts.
A “standard” Breathing Space may also be available to anyone in problem debt who does not meet the definition of receiving mental health crisis treatment, providing they meet the eligibility criteria and conditions. This can be accessed via debt advice and free, confidential advice can be found using the MoneyHelper Debt Advice Locator Tool.
More information about the standard Breathing Space and its eligibility criteria can be found here.
What are the eligibility criteria?
Not all individuals in mental health crisis treatment can apply to the Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space. An individual is eligible if any of the following apply:
- Is detained under the Mental Health Act (this is also known as being sectioned).
- Has been removed to a place of safety under the Mental Health Act.
- Is getting crisis care in hospital or the community from a specialist mental health team such as the crisis team or the home treatment team.
For more information about the scheme’s eligibility criteria, you can visit this dedicated page.
What is this single point of entry and who can use it?
This single point of entry was created on request from the UK government to simplify the process of sending Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space applications. It is provided by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), a UK arm’s-length government body that helps people access free, confidential and impartial debt advice.
Once evidence of mental health crisis care is obtained (see below), any of the following can use this page to submit a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space application:
- Any debtor receiving mental health crisis treatment
- The debtor’s carer
- Approved mental health professionals
- Care co-ordinators appointed for the debtor
- Mental health nurses
- Social workers
- Independent mental health advocates or mental capacity advocates appointed for the debtor
- A debtor’s representative
How to submit an application for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space
After an approved mental health professional (AMHP) provides evidence of ongoing mental health crisis treatment (using this GOV.UK evidence form) you can use the links below to submit an application.
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.
Steps which may help get a signed evidence form are:
- Speak to the healthcare professional most involved in the patient’s care and see if they can contact an AMHP for the customer.
- Speak to the local adult social services department and ask to speak to the AMPH team.
- Speak to the local Community Mental Health Team and see if they can contact an AMHP that way.
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.
Once evidence of ongoing mental health crisis treatment is submitted via the single point of entry, an approved debt advice provider will review it and decide whether it is appropriate to enter the customer into a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space.
Submit a referral for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space
Providing you have an evidence form signed by an approved AMHP (see above), you can use the following links to submit an application:
In England, referrals will be received by Rethink Mental Illness.
To submit a referral to Rethink, complete your evidence form and follow the steps on their website.
In Wales, referrals will be received by Citizens Advice Cymru.
To submit a referral to Citizens Advice Cymru, visit the website and upload your completed evidence form.
These providers hold a quality standard accredited by the Money and Pensions Service and are FCA- authorised which means they must offer full advice and act in the best interest of customers at all times.
Where can I find more information?
If you are a creditor or money adviser, more information about the scheme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/debt-respite-scheme-breathing-space-guidance/
If you are an Approved Mental Health Professional or other individual, more information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/debt-respite-scheme-breathing-space-guidance-on-mental-health-crisis-breathing-space