Good News for DBI Services!

Wednesday 2 September 2020

We welcome the announcement by the Scottish Government in their 'Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland: The Government's Programme for Scotland 2020-2021' publication yesterday about the extension the Distressed Brief Intervention Programme throughout Scotland.

TRFS have been an integral part of this programme, working alongside partners in South Lanarkshire as Level 2 practitioners across Hamilton/Blantyre and Rutherglen/Cambuslang.

The publication states: 

Focusing on our response to distress

For years, our priority has been to improve responses to people who present in distress to emergency services but who do not need clinical intervention. In 2017, a pilot project was started in four areas (Lanarkshire, Borders, Inverness, and Aberdeen) called the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) programme. DBI is a programme for people who turn to emergency services in emotional distress but do not need an emergency response. Frontline services, including Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service, and primary care, assess the needs of the person and, if appropriate, refer them to a local third sector agency who will be in contact within 24 hours and offer support over a two week period to manage distress. Since its inception in June 2017, over 9,000 people have been referred to the DBI. During COVID‑19, the DBI has now become nationwide through NHS 24. This was designed to help people in distress and the interim evaluation of the programme showed that the DBI approach is helping to save lives. However, at the moment it isn’t reaching everyone and is limited to people over the age of 16. During the pandemic, we expanded the programme to include an NHS24 pathway, and this has already shown very positive results which it’s vital we maintain. We will now extend the DBI programme across Scotland, for a transitional period to 2024, at which point we expect it to be fully embedded by Boards.

South Lanarkshire Council said "this is excellent news for all involved in DBI, securing support over the next three years to 2024 to enable space and time for a considered, effective and sustainable transition on the next stage of the DBI journey, building on all that has been achieved so far".

If you would like more information on the Distressed Brief Intervention Service or the wider support TRFS can provide, please email






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