On 4th May this year, new legislation was introduced in England and Wales to give people a break from debt worries for as long as a person is receiving mental health crisis treatment, and up to 30 days after.

Rethink Mental Illness’ Mental Health & Money Advice Service is running this ‘Mental Health Access to Breathing Space’ scheme which will not only address people’s debt issues but will also aid their long-term recovery.

Referrals can be made by a nurse, social worker, care co-ordinator, the patient’s informal carer or the patient themselves, but they must be certified by an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP).

Mental Health professionals like psychiatric nurses in inpatient wards and community mental health teams or crisis teams will have an important role in identifying people in debt and mental health crisis and referring them to an AMHP for their consideration.

To refer people to the Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space a person must:

  • be in crisis treatment whether via a crisis house, crisis home treatment team, community mental health team or have been detained under the Mental Health Act.
  • have the application approved by an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) who will need to complete an evidence form to prove eligibility and suitability for the scheme.
  • have their completed form submitted to the Mental Health and Money Advice website who will then manage the referral process and if approved will be in touch every 30 days to see whether an extension is required.

E-learning is available for:

  • AMHPs who may be asked to provide evidence for an application
  • All other health and social care professionals – especially those who may be the ‘Nominated Point of Contact’ and be asked to deal with requests from debt advice providers related to a mental health crisis Breathing Space

HM Treasury also provide Guidance on Breathing Space for mental health professionals.

For further info please contact Ginger Beniston at Rethink Mental Illness .

The scheme was funded by the governmental Money and Pensions Service.