Mental Health Minister, Clare Haughey MSP met with Borders DBI representatives at the Hive in Low Buckholmside, Galashiels, to commend them in helping the national project win a prestigious Scottish Health Award.

Ms Haughey said: “I want to congratulate the whole team on the fantastic work they do to support people who are experiencing significant challenges in their lives.

“This work supports our broad vision on mental health, of a Scotland where people can get the right help at the right time, expect recovery and fully enjoy their rights, free from discrimination and stigma.”

Welcoming the Minister was Borders DBI programme manager Haylis Smith, who said: “Almost 1000 people in the Borders have been supported to manage their distress since the pilot began.

“The support given to these individuals is the real reward for all of us, but we were delighted the Minister recognised the efforts of the area’s hospital emergency department (ED), Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), primary care and third sector staff.”

DBI provides an ‘ask once – get help fast’ early intervention for people in distress/emotional pain who do not need emergency medical treatment.

It consists of two parts, with part 1 seeing trained front-line ED, police, paramedic, and primary care staff help ease an individual’s immediate distress. 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 (Scottish Association for Mental Health in Borders) 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.

Data gathered so far shows on average, the level of distress of those who have received DBI support, has halved.

The Scottish Government funded pilot picked up the Care for Mental Health award at the Scottish Health Awards in November.

DBI programme manager Kevin O’Neill, said: “We were delighted the Minister paid a visit to the Borders DBI team to hear and see for herself how their efforts are making a real difference to people’s lives day in and day out.

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

The Borders DBI team were pesented with a certificate to recognise their contribution to the project winning a Scottish Health Award.

Dr Rachael Henderson with the Minister