With effect from 31st May 2019, Police Scotland’s DBI (Distress Brief Intervention) trained officers within Lanarkshire and Scottish Borders pilot areas will begin referring those aged 16+ years to receive up to 14 days of support from the DBI Level 2 service.
The DBI programme is part of the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy and has helped almost 3,000 people since it launched two years ago.
DBI is operating across Lanarkshire, the Borders, Inverness and Aberdeen, providing support to people aged 18 and over who present to emergency services and primary care in distress or emotional pain. Specially trained staff help individuals manage difficult emotions and problem situations early on, and come up with a ‘distress plan’ to prevent future crisis.
The Scottish Government has announced its commitment to extend the DBI pilot to include 16 and 17 year olds. This commitment reflects feedback from DBI service providers and an acknowledged need for a stronger focus on prevention, social support and early intervention beyond specialist mental health services.
The period of adolescence is a time when the onset of mental health problems and symptoms are known to increase.
Early intervention can help to establish coping and self-management skills and prevent later onset of mental health problems. However, there are limited options of support available to individuals aged 16 and 17 years with an increasing demand for specialist services, high rates of inappropriate and rejected referrals to specialist services and long waiting times.
In Scotland we adopt approaches that advocate for equal rights. Many services involved in providing care for individuals, as well as current legislation, consider individuals aged 16 and 17 years to be adults. Extending DBI to include those aged 16+ years offers parity.
More information on the DBI programme can be found on their website.