A Lanarkshire woman has praised DBI saying it’s helped ‘change her life’.

Julia Stachurska, 19, reached a very low point in her life last summer after a series of personal setbacks took their toll on her mental health resulting in her attempting to end her life.

Thankfully Julia’s mother intervened and took her to University Hospital Wishaw (UHW) where she was treated by emergency department (ED) staff. Following this an ED nurse asked Julia if she was aware of the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) programme as it might be able to help her.

Following a chat with the DBI trained nurse, Julia agreed to be referred to the 14 day support programme and almost one year on, says its intervention has helped her cope better with life.

Julia said: “I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was under a lot of stress as a result of my job and exams at university.

“I was also experiencing racist bullying as a result of my Polish background and there were folk in my local community who were making my life a misery which forced the family to move.

“As a family we were also struggling financially and it all just got too much for me.

“I just couldn’t see a way out and tried to do what I did.”

DBI provides support to people who present to emergency services and primary care in distress/emotional pain.

It 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 the person agrees, they refer them 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.

Julia, who has suffered depression since she was young and takes medication to help, believes the DBI support she received has better equipped her to deal with life events. She is one of over 2800 people who have received DBI support since the programme began two years ago.

Julia continued: “I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was very impressed with the rapid response I received – I was called the next day by Roseanne from Lifelink, (which provides the part 2 support in North Lanarkshire).

“It was really helpful having someone to talk to and help me work through all the issues that were making me feel the way I did and better understand them.

“Roseanne also helped me in a practical way by signposting me to places where I got other support and help.”

Roseanne Collins from Lifelink, said: “Distress and emotional pain can be caused by many factors such as relationship issues, loneliness, bereavement, money and housing worries and life coping issues.

“Evidence shows these situations don’t require further treatment at an emergency department but require quick emotional and practical support in the community.

“It’s fantastic to hear that those who receive the support feel more able to manage their current distress and are more confident about managing any future distress”

Senior nurse at UHW ED Andy Pender, said: “We can and still do refer individuals who require specialist mental health and/or addiction services to the relevant service.

“But it’s great that we now also have this additional more appropriate option available to us and which also works for people in distress.”

Photo caption:
(l-r) Andy Pender; Roseanne Collins; clinical support worker Dot Scott; Julie Stachurska; and Fiona Torrance, senior charge nurse.