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Breathing Space

Breathing Space and Mental Health Crisis Debt schemes

On Tuesday 4 May two new government schemes are launching which aim to help millions who are struggling with problem debt: Breathing Space and Breathing Space Mental Health Crisis Debt Scheme.

Who is eligible?

To receive assistance, an individual must first be referred – or have it confirmed they are eligible; this will be handled locally by Trafford Citizens Advice Bureau and Trafford Council’s mental health teams.  

Non-Trafford residents must seek referrals from within their own area of residence.

Breathing Space

The first initiative, Breathing Space, supports people to get their finances under control by allowing them a 60 day break from paying interest (or fees) on money they have borrowed, for example, through loans or credit cards.

How to apply

Breathing Space is applied for through a debt advisor and can only be granted once in a 12-month period.

You are not permitted to take on any new borrowing over £500 during the 60 days, and you must continue to pay utility bills, taxes, and other household-related costs.

During this period, professional debt advice will be available to help find a long-term solution to each person’s financial difficulties.

Breathing Space Mental Health Crisis Debt Scheme

If you’re being treated for a mental health crisis and are also struggling with debt, then the government’s second new initiative, called Breathing Space Mental Health Crisis Debt Scheme, is there to help.

How to apply

You can seek help from this crisis debt scheme yourself, but an approved mental health professional must then confirm you are receiving mental health crisis treatment. Treatments include receiving any other crisis, emergency or acute care or treatment in hospital or in the community from a specialist mental health service. Please note that the approval cannot be done by your GP.

Once your application has been approved, a pause will be placed on any existing debt repayments. This freeze will last for as long as you’re receiving crisis treatment, plus an additional 30 days.

You can apply for Breathing Space Mental Health Crisis Debt more than once a year. Plus, you can also apply for the standard Breathing Space scheme afterwards.

Further help

If you are worried about debt, please contact Citizens Advice Trafford (CAB) on 0808 278 7803 in the first instance.

CAB will help direct you to the best available help, whether that is Breathing Space or the Mental Health Crisis Debt scheme. They have a range of information and advice to support you whatever your financial situation.