Monday, 4 May 2015

Distress Brief Intervention @scotgov proposal - Suicide Prevention Strategy - Focus Group Event Perth

I'm planning to attend a Focus Group Event (didn't manage, gave apologies) this Friday 8 May in Perth, organised by Scottish Government, on the theme of Distress Brief Intervention (DBI).  Linked to the Suicide Prevention Strategy 2013 - 2016; Theme A: Responding to people in distress.

Here is the Programme:

[Niall Kearney is Head of Mental Health Improvement, SG; Dr John Mitchell is Principal Medical Officer, SG]

And a link to paper sent out by Scottish Government's Mental Health & Protection of Rights Division to "inform the discussions": Distress Brief Intervention – description and proposedspecification


A better response by services to individuals in distress is seen as a key component in supporting people at risk of non-fatal self-harm, future suicide prevention and mental health services. This is evidenced by work in relation to Commitment 19 of the Mental Health Strategy (2012 – 2015):

This paper seeks to better define the concept of a Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) building on the previous concept paper delivered to the Scottish Suicide Prevention Strategy Implementation and Monitoring Group on 14.11.14.  It also recognises the challenges of providing a compassionate response from first line responders and of connecting individuals to the range of local services and facilities. 

The vision we have is that the DBI will consist of 2 components. Firstly, a frontline assessment and signposting and secondly, where appropriate further contact within 24 hours for a 14 day maximum period of community problem solving and support. ..."

"Commitment 19 of the Mental Health Strategy says

'We will take forward work , initially in NHS Tayside, but involving the Royal College of General Practitioners as well as social work, the police and others, to develop an approach to test in practice which focuses on improving the response to distress. This will include developing a shared understanding of the challenge and appropriate local responses that engage and support those experiencing distress, as well as support for practitioners. We will develop a methodology for assessing the benefits of such an approach and for improving it over time.'"


This topic is of specific interest to me because of personal experience.  Two of my sons could not access support when they were in distress, in two different health board areas: Fife and Dundee, in 2012.  

I contend that if they had received crisis support when they required it then there would have been no need for the eventual psychiatric inpatient forced drug treatment.  And I would not have had to advocate for them in psychiatric settings and pick up the pieces after traumatic "unreasonable treatment"/human rights abuse, perpetrated on one of my sons, in Fife. (see Express article 'Patient locked in cell with no toilet, food or water')

Both of them went to A&E and neither got the help they needed when they asked for it.  My youngest son kept asking for a month and got no support, in January 2012.  Despite having a CPN.  The system did not work for my family.  I am not happy about this.  It is why I am now a psychiatric survivor activist and human rights campaigner in mental health matters.

I believe that timely and appropriate support for people in mental distress will save lives and save money.  It will also save unpaid carers and mothers from having to stand in the breach, advocate for their family and protect the rights of their sons and daughters who are at risk of psychiatric abuse.

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