Mental Illness: Debts

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 28th June 2019.

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Photo of Mark Hendrick Mark Hendrick Labour/Co-operative, Preston

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute that 46 per cent of people in problem debt have also been diagnosed with a mental health issue, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Work and Pensions to tackle that issue.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government recognises the impact that debt and financial difficulty can have on mental health and wellbeing. We are committed to eliminating charges applied to patients who may be experiencing a financial crisis when they seek medical evidence from their general practitioner to inform their creditors.

On Monday 17 June, the Prime Minister announced a new scheme to support those with problem debt. Breathing Space is a statutory debt repayment plan which aims to give people in problem debt the opportunity to take control of their finances and put them on a sustainable footing. The scheme includes a specific mechanism to make it easier for people experiencing a mental health crisis to access support. The Government consulted on the Breathing Space programme between October 2018 and January 2019 and have recently published a response to the consultation.

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