Important Notice

Find out the latest guidance around COVID-19 from NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government, including social distancing and stay at home advice.

Distress Brief Intervention

Distress Brief Interventions (DBIs) are an innovative way of supporting people in distress.

The need to improve the response to people presenting in distress has been strongly advocated by people who have experience of distress and by front line service providers, resulting in the DBI pilot.

DBI consists of two parts, with part 1 seeing trained front-line health, police, paramedic and primary care staff help ease any individual.  They then ask the person if they would like further support and, if they agree, they are referred to the DBI service with a promise of contact within the next 24 hours to start providing further face-to-face support.

Part 2 is provided by commissioned and trained third sector staff who contact the person within 24-hours of referral and provide community-based problem solving support, wellness and distress management planning, supported connections and signposting.

The pilot has also been extended to 16 and 17-year-olds across the four pilot areas.

Get Help Now

If you feel you need talk to someone now, call your GP or a health or social care worker if you are in contact with one. If your surgery is closed or you need to speak to someone urgently, call NHS 24 on 111. If an emergency call 999


Improving the response to distress is a commitment of the Scottish Government who has listened to people who have experience of distress, listened to front line service providers and reviewed the evidence.


The DBI programme provides a framework for creating a consistent, collaborative, connected, compassionate and effective response to people experiencing distress in Scotland.


The Scottish Government have established the DBI programme, which will run from November 16 – March 21, co-ordinated by a central team, tested in four partnership and independently evaluated.

Meet the Partners

A DBI programme board brings the Scottish Government together with a DBI central team, national lead agencies and the four partnership sites of Aberdeen, Borders, Inverness and Lanarkshire.

Latest News

The programme board appreciates that there is broader community of interest who wish to be kept up to date with the progress of the DBI programme. This section will support this.

Resources & Links

Useful resources and links, relevant to the DBI programme, have been brought together for convenience.

Partnership Sites

“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.”

Clare Haughey MSP, Minister for Mental Health

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