Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space

Welcome to the single point of entry for the Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space

This single point of entry 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.  

This page is for anyone who needs to submit an application for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space. This could include: 

  • 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, or
  • a debtor’s representative.

Breathing Space is a debt respite scheme launched on 4 May 2021. It provides protections for people who are resident in England and Wales who are in debt.

The protections include pausing enforcement action and contact from creditors and freezing interest and charges on their debts. A standard breathing space is available to anyone in problem debt who accesses debt advice and meets the eligibility criteria and conditions. 

It can be very difficult to engage with debt advice while receiving mental health crisis treatment, but problem debt and mental health problems are often linked. The government therefore committed to develop an alternative route to access the protections for people receiving mental health crisis treatment, so that they do not have to access debt advice first.  

If an approved mental health professional certifies that a person is receiving mental health crisis treatment, this evidence can be used by a debt advice provider to initiate a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space. 

This single point of entry provides a route to send an application for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space to a debt advice provider. 

The debt advice provider will review the application and decide whether it is appropriate to enter the customer into a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space. 

An approved mental health professional (AMHP) will need to certify that the person is receiving mental health crisis treatment.

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.

To submit a referral, you will need to send a debt advice provider a completed evidence form. The evidence forms are available on GOV.UK.

You will also need to provide details for a nominated point of contact as well as additional information that will help the provider process the application.

Full information on this can be found within the Guidance on the Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space for Mental Health Professionals.

Referrals will be received by dedicated debt advice providers:

In England, referrals will be received by Rethink.

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.

Os ydych chi am gyflwyno atgyfeiriad yng Nghymru cliciwch yma.

All debt advice providers taking referrals for Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space will hold a quality standard accredited by the Money and Pensions Service.

Providers and their advisers will be FCA authorised which means that they must offer full advice and act in the best interest of customers at all times.  

More information about the scheme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/debt-respite-scheme-breathing-space-guidance/

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