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AMHPs can help people in debt crisis access 'Breathing Space' scheme

The scheme pauses interest and debt charges while a person is receiving mental health treatment

People receiving debt advice in England and Wales can now apply to the ‘breathing space’ scheme which shields people in problem debt from further interest and charges. 

Under the scheme, an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) can certify that an individual is receiving mental health treatment and then a debt adviser can consider whether they are eligible for the scheme. 

Whilst the scheme is not enough to properly address the impact that debt can have on a person, it is a welcome movement in the right direction. 

Many people with problem debt will continue to borrow more money to pay their previous debt, which only leads to more financial pressures over the long term. This scheme will put a pause on the interest and charges so that people can receive any treatment that they need, and then a further 30 days to get back on track.

It can only be used once during a 12-month period and does not impact regular bills. 

The Government has published guidance for Approved Mental Health Professionals and others about the scheme.