Helen Undy, Head of External Affairs

Taking our Recovery Space campaign to Downing Street

Today we hit a big (and exciting) milestone in our Recovery Space campaign. On the eve of our proposals being debated in parliament, we went to Downing Street to deliver 10,000 petition letters to the Chancellor. We’re calling on the government to extend their breathing space debt respite scheme to anyone receiving NHS mental health crisis services – so that people who are acutely unwell have space to recover, without being hounded by their creditors or facing spiraling fees.

Pictured are Martin Lewis, our Founder and Chair, Johnny Mercer MP, Luciana Berger MP, Lee Brookes and Suzanne Hoddy – both of whom have personal experience of mental health crisis and debt. They’re delivering letters signed by 10,500 people who care what happens to people in crisis. That’s a lot of post, and we want the Chancellor to take action so that no one is discharged from hospital after a mental health crisis to come home to their own pile of urgent demand letters on the doormat, or hounded by bailiffs while struggling in a mental health crisis at home.

Third time lucky?

Tomorrow the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill is due to have its final debate in parliament. It’s already been postponed twice, so we’re hoping this is third time lucky. The Bill is what will put the government’s debt respite scheme into law, and our amendments are to make sure that people in mental health crisis services get automatic access, without having to jump through hoops like appointments with a debt advisor which they are likely to be too unwell to keep.

This proposal could genuinely save lives. Just this weekend a member of our Research Community got in touch about the petition to say:

I’ve been close to completing suicide over these issues, they can literally be a matter of life and death: depression compounded by debt.’

We’re excited by how many people have lined up to show their support for the campaign, and hopeful that the government will take notice. To be the first to hear what happens in the debate tomorrow sign up to our mailing list, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.