The Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) pilot scheme is the latest piece of work funded by the Scottish Government’s extra £150 million commitment to mental health.

The DBI is a short intervention for people in distress who do not need emergency medical treatment, in settings like A&E departments or GP surgeries. Specially trained staff will help them to manage difficult emotions and problem situations early on, and come up with a ‘distress plan’ to prevent future crisis.

North and South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnerships will host the DBI central team and participate as one of five partnership test sites which will run local pilots.

Minister for Mental Health, Maureen Watt announced the host and partner agencies at the Houldsworth Centre in Wishaw. She said: “Mental health is an absolute priority for this Government, as demonstrated by our additional investment of £150 million over five years. Later this year we will publish our new Mental Health Strategy which will have a 10 year vision to address a number of challenges including the provision of more efficient and effective mental health services and supporting mental health in primary care.

“As part of this, I am pleased to announce that we are providing £4.2 million to develop and test the effectiveness of the Distress Brief Intervention.

“Early intervention like this is such an important part of how we treat mental health and will be a key part of our new ten-year strategy, which will be unveiled later this year. The Distress Brief Intervention is all about equipping people with the skills and support to manage their own health and to prevent future crisis.

“DBIs are one way of delivering on our “ask once, get help fast” commitment.

“I’m delighted that Lanarkshire Partnerships will be host and partner for the next phase of work along with Penumbra in Aberdeen, Support in Mind in Inverness, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and its constituent Health and Social Care Partnerships, and NHS Borders Joint Mental Health Service. I look forward to hearing of its progress.” 

General Manager for Mental Health and Learning Disability Services in Lanarkshire, Paula Macleod said:

“Lanarkshire has been working with our broader partners and communities for some time, recognising the need to focus on how we can improve the response for people in distress.

“Lanarkshire planning partners are looking forward to working with the Scottish Government and the Distress Brief Intervention Partnership sites to listen, learn, understand and share how we can provide a more co-ordinated, consistent and compassionate responses to people who experience distress across Lanarkshire and Scotland in a way that really makes a difference to people’s lives, their families and friends.” 

The proposal for a Distress Brief Intervention has emerged from work on the Suicide Prevention and Mental Health strategies. The need to improve the response to distress has been strongly advocated by service users and front line service providers. By intervening early at primary care level, the DBI seeks to better engage and equip people in managing their own health.

The Scottish Government will provide £4.2m of the £150 million additional investment in mental health services, to develop and test the effectiveness of the DBI over a four year period to March 2021. 

North & South Lanarkshire Health & Social Care Partnerships have been announced as the Central DBI/Host Team, with partners Penumbra in Aberdeen, Support in Mind in Inverness, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and its constituent Health and Social Care Partnerships, and NHS Borders Joint Mental Health Service hosting local pilots.