Award success for mental health project

editorial image

Frontline emergency staff in the Borders were among those praised after a unique mental health project which helps those in distress won a prestigious Scottish Health Award.

The area’s hospital emergency department (ED), Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), primary care and third sector staff, were all singled out for their dedication to the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) programme after it picked up the Care for Mental Health award.

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

Frontline staff often meet people from the area who are emotionally overwhelmed as a result of issues such as bereavement, relationship, stress, low mood or financial worries.

Some of these staff are now trained to help ease a person’s immediate distress with compassion, empowered with the knowledge that they can refer the person for community support, which the person will be contacted about within 24 hours.

National DBI programme manager Kevin O’Neill, dedicated the award to all the staff across all the agencies involved.

He said: “In acknowledging this achievement, we are of course sensitive to the fact our recognition comes from helping those in distress.

“It is this sensitivity 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.

“With almost 5,000 people helped nationally so far – including nearly 1000 in the Borders area – I know the biggest validation for our incredible front-line and third sector staff comes from seeing the difference they are making to people’s lives day in and day out.

“But I really hope all who have been part of the development and delivery of the DBI programme, takes a great deal of satisfaction and pride from this recognition.

“I can’t stress highly enough, this award is for all of them and I’m sure it will inspire and motivate us all to continue to provide the best connected compassionate support possible.”

Borders DBI programme manager Haylis Smith, said: “All the partners in Borders are absolutely delighted with this.

“Staffs’ efforts have resulted in almost 1000 people in the Borders supported to manage their distress since the pilot began and they can rightly be delighted with this national recognition.”

DBI is a Scottish Government funded pilot and the Government’s principal medical officer Dr John Mitchell said: “Any initiative is only as good as those who embrace and deliver it and I want to use this opportunity to thank all the health and social care, police, ambulance and third sector staff who have made this possible.

“The success of DBI is a tribute to their belief and commitment and I’m absolutely delighted this has also been recognised by the award judges.”