Successful adaptation for DBI as part of COVID response
An independent evaluation, which looked at the Scottish Government’s extension of the Distress Brief Intervention programme (DBI) as part of the national COVID response, found that the extended DBI service adopted and integrated successfully with the NHS24 Mental Health Hub to deliver connected compassionate support to more people across Scotland.
The evaluation focused on expanding and developing the DBI programme into a nationwide response for people presenting in distress during the pandemic. The expansion allows NHS24 Mental Health Hub staff to offer the additional DBI pathway to person-centred support, for anyone who contacts them in distress, 24/7, aged 16 and over, from anywhere in Scotland, where the caller is assessed as appropriate for DBI.
This evaluation builds on a separate but related evaluation into the core DBI programme, published in May 2022: Distress Brief Intervention Pilot Programme evaluation: findings report.
Welcoming the findings, national DBI programme manager Kevin O’Neill, said:
“I must thank the evaluation team for the report and emerging findings. The report validates all the tremendous work of the DBI community, who are inspired and committed to using the learning and recommendations, in support of the continuous improvement to provide the best connected, compassionate support possible.
“I pay the highest tribute to the DBI community who have demonstrated incredible commitment, innovation, flexibility, creativity and adaptability in how they have responded to the pandemic, with all involved mobilising their collective assets, not only maintaining the provision of connected compassionate support during these challenging times but answering the call to expand its reach at significant pace and scale.
“Special acknowledgement goes to all our front-line colleagues, which now includes NHS24 and the third sector DBI community, who by working together, day in and day out have provided connected compassionate support to over 30,000 people in distress, 10,000 of whom have been referred by NHS24.”
“The Distress Brief Intervention programme plays a hugely important role in providing timely, compassionate support to people in emotional distress. It is encouraging to see that this innovative programme has been so strongly endorsed.”
Minister for Mental Wellbeing & Social Care Kevin Stewart
Minister for Mental Wellbeing & Social Care Kevin Stewart said:
“Since the programme was launched in 2017, the service has now supported over 30,000 people at a time of emotional distress – including over 10,000 who have been referred by NHS24 since spring 2020.
“I would like to thank NHS24 and all our partners involved in developing and providing this service, as part of our wider response to the pandemic.”
Read more about the independent evaluation on the Distress Brief Intervention website.
The evaluation’s findings and recommendations will help inform further improvements and adjustments to the DBI programme over the coming period.
DBI has two levels:
Level 1 sees front-line colleagues in areas such Emergency Departments, police, ambulance service, primary care and now NHS24, trained to ease a person’s distress. With the person’s agreement, they then refer the person to the DBI level 2 service, with the promise of support within 24 hours. Level 2 is provided by commissioned and trained third sector staff who contact the person within 24-hours of referral and provides around 14 days of problem solving support, wellness and distress management planning, supported connections, and signposting.