Distress Brief Intervention Pilot Programme evaluation: findings report

Research summary of Distress Brief Intervention Pilot Programme evaluation report.

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Distress Brief Interventions (DBI) have been developed to support people experiencing distress. There are two levels to this approach:

  • Level 1: Trained frontline staff provide a compassionate response and offer referral to the DBI (Level 2). Level 1 frontline staff are from Police Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS Accident and Emergency departments, and Primary Care.
  • Level 2: On receiving a referral, specially trained staff from third-sector organisations attempt to make contact with the person within 24 hours. The staff then provide the DBI over around 14 days (in line with individual need). The intervention is community-based and includes a problem-solving intervention, as well as including distress management action planning and signposting to further support. The DBI is not a clinical intervention, and is not designed for those with severe or enduring mental illness, or complex psychosocial needs.

The Scottish Government initially set up pilots of the DBI programme between November 2016 and March 2021 in four areas (Aberdeen, Inverness, Lanarkshire and Scottish Borders) – and initially targeted those aged 18 and over. The pilots expanded during this period to other geographic areas, and to include those aged 16 to 17.

The DBI programme represents a national and regional collaboration between health and social care, Primary Care, emergency services (Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service and A&E Departments) and the third sector.


Email: socialresearch@gov.scot

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