You are currently in the en section of the site.

No thank you, please close this banner.

First published:

Top Tips

Mental health and Money Advice responds to Goverment’s proposed Breathing Space scheme


Mental Health and Money Advice urged the Treasury to ensure the Breathing Space scheme from creditors captures everyone experiencing a mental health crisis and offers those at risk of reaching crisis point additional support.

What is the Government's proposed Breathing Space scheme?

The proposed Breathing Space initiative will allow individuals a pause from enforcement action and the opportunity to decide on the most appropriate debt management plan with a debt advice agency.

The Government are also set to introduce the concept of a new, statutory repayment plan, which would allow a debtor to repay their debts without fear of enforcement action.

Breathing Space and mental health

The Breathing Space scheme also includes a proposed alternative access mechanism for people receiving NHS treatment for a mental health crisis, either at a psychiatric in-patient setting or in the community.

This proposal would allow individuals the protection of breathing space when they do not have the ability to engage with a debt adviser around a financial assessment, which is likely to be the case if they are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Mental Health and Money Advice response

Overall we welcome the Government's plans for Breathing Space including the alternative access mechanism. However, we have recommended clarity on the definition of a mental health crisis to ensure it captures everyone affected.

Sarah Murphy - a founding member of the Mental Health and Money Advice service - said:

“We have raised concerns that there will be many individuals who could potentially fall between two stools in terms of the access routes to and the benefits of Breathing Space.”

“In our experience, many of the Mental Health and Money Advice clients are not able to engage in a financial assessment with a debt advisor or stick to a plan but they would not fit the ‘mental health crisis’ definition set out in the Government’s consultation either.”

“We suggest a middle option that would give people extra protection under the main access route but do not qualify under the alternative access mechanism.”

What next

Breathing space is currently in its infancy with no set date for a rollout or finalised proposal. We will update this page when we have more information.


Top tips and advice

  1. Why the Mental Health and Money Advice service is helping people with mental illness and money issues
  2. This Talk Money Week, read our conversation guides around money worries
  3. Should you be worried about rising mortgage interest rates?
  4. What is financial anxiety?
  5. Budget 2023: How does it affect you?
  6. Why debt can happen to anyone, and how shame can shape our relationship with money
  7. Let’s Get Talking about Student Mental Health: University Mental Health Day
  8. How to save money this Christmas and New Year’s
  9. Tips for managing your money and mental health in 2023
  10. What to do if money worries are affecting your mental health
  11. Blue Badges available for people suffering from mental illness
  12. Budget 2018: How does it affect you?
  13. What the 2018 PIP ruling means for those living with mental health issues
  14. Mental health and Money Advice responds to Goverment’s proposed Breathing Space scheme
  15. Being a carer can affect your mental health and money
  16. What to do when debt worries impact on performance at work
  17. Changes to Support for Mortgage Interest
  18. FCA announces new rules on 'buy now pay later' products and overdrafts
  19. Mental health and money advice for COVID-19 outbreak
  20. How to budget your money during the COVID-19 outbreak
  21. How the Touco app can help you get support around money and mental health
  22. How banks are helping during the Coronavirus period
  23. DWP publishes mental health conditions for PIP back payments
  24. Managing your mental health and money after government cuts
  25. Universal Credit boost for mental health
  26. Household Support Fund
  27. Tips for managing your money and mental health in 2022
  28. How to manage your mental health and money following the energy price rise
  29. How the Universal Credit jobseeker and work capability assessments may affect you
  30. World Bipolar Day
  31. What is the impact of savings on mental health?
  32. How to save money at Christmas 2023 and New Year's 2024
  33. Managing your money and mental health on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  34. What does the Autumn Statement 2023 mean for you?
  35. What you need to know about the household energy price cap decrease
  36. What does the Budget 2024 mean for you?
  37. Debt Awareness Week: Reasons People Don’t Get Debt Advice and How to Overcome Those Barriers
  38. Your Simplified Options for Dealing With Debt

Other Top Tips & Advice

You may find this other advice useful.

Please tell us more

For urgent help, please see Help & contacts