StopTheCharge campaign successful
With mental health problems being experienced by one in four people and debt also being an issue, there are 8.3 million people in the UK who are struggling or unable to pay off their debts. Creditors recognise and appreciate this by adjusting payments, freezing interest and giving extra leeway to debtors if they are aware and have evidence of a mental health problem.
Unfortunately, for one in three obtaining this evidence isn’t without a cost, with one in three being charged by their GP for filling out the necessary forms that need to be provided to the creditor as evidence.
Theresa May commented in January 2017
“Despite known links between debt and mental health, currently hundreds of mental health patients are charged by their GP for a form to prove they have mental health issues. To end this unfair practice the Department of Health will undertake a formal review of the mental health debt form, working with the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute."
You can read her full statement here.
The stopthecharge campaign set out to eliminate charges for forms from GPs across the country. The charges in place are not regulated and, in some areas, up to £150 is being charged however a more typical charge is between £20 and £50.
The stopthecharge campaign has been championed by Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and has been supported by 14 leading charities and advice groups with Theresa May commenting:
"I’d like to thank the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute for their ‘Stop the Charge’ campaign which has played a vital role in making this happen."
The British Medical Association decision
The British Medical Association has agreed to stop GPS from charging for these forms and the forms have been revised and shortened meaning that GPs have a less time-consuming task to complete.
This is obviously a huge step in the right direction and a huge relief to anyone experiencing mental health issues who is also in debt.
You can find out more about the campaign here.