Tuesday 30th June, marked two special events for Scotland’s DBI programme, its third anniversary; coupled with the news that programmes team members had assisted its 8,000th person in distress.

The DBI programme has built the vision of connected compassionate support, through a large and far reaching national and regional distress collaboration between NHS24, health and social care, emergency services, Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service, Universities & Researchers and third sector partners: Penumbra: Support in Mind Scotland (SiMS): Lifelink: SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health): Lanarkshire Association for Mental Health (LAMH) and The Richmond Fellowship Scotland (TRFS).

DBI has grown from a fledgling start in Lanarkshire in June 2017, where the collaborative DBI development work enabled the controlled testing of DBI in one front-line centre, the Emergency Department, at University Hospital Hairmyres, coupled with community support provided by third sector colleagues, Lanarkshire Association for Mental Health (LAMH).

From this initial testing the DBI programme has been, developed and continuously improved in the DBI test sites of Aberdeen, Inverness, North and South Lanarkshire, Scottish Borders and more recently Moray.

Over the last three years, with Scottish Governments support, the vision, collaborative culture and programme infrastructure has enabled the programme to expand and include young people aged between 16 and 17 years.  As well as the establishment of an associate programme for other regions of Scotland to benefit from the learning, knowledge, infrastructure and tools that the programme had developed.

On the 14th April 2020, the First Minister announced the expansion and development of the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) programme into a nationwide response for people presenting in distress to the Mental Health HUB at NHS24 during the COVID 19 pandemic period.

Kevin O’ Neill, Distress Brief Intervention Programme Manager commented: ” This is a significant milestone in the life cycle of our work.

“In reaching this landmark, we are highly sensitive to the fact that this milestone has been reached whilst helping people in distress.

“It is this sensitivity to those in distress that inspires us all to work together to improve the outcomes and experiences of people when they need help most.

“With over 8,000 people helped so far, I know the biggest validation for our incredible front-line and third sector staff comes from seeing the difference they are making to people’s lives day in and day out. But I really hope all who have been part of the development and delivery of the DBI programme at any time, take time to reflect on all that they have achieved over the last three years.

“I wish to offer my thanks and appreciation for their commitment to connected compassionate support and I’m sure this landmark will inspire and motivate us all to continue to provide the best-connected compassionate support possible.”