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Glasgow Live
Glasgow Live
Catherine Hunter

Children's mental health services in West Dunbartonshire get funding support

Mental health support to help children struggling with 'emotional distress' is to continue in West Dunbartonshire after funding for the next year was approved

More than £230,000 grant funding will be allocated to West Dunbartonshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to continue the funding of mental health support services.

The Scottish Government confirmed the 2023/24 allocation of £231,000 in January this year which will help ensure the ongoing delivery of children and young people’s “community mental health support”.

READ NEXT: Children's mental health services in West Dunbartonshire to be run by neighbouring authority

Money will be used to fund the remainder of the current Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) service contract with SAMH up to October 2023 and for a further six months if the service is needed locally.

It will also fund the first of two, two-year contracted fixed health care support worker posts offering £66,000 per year, with the second year being supported by an earmarked reserve.

West Dunbartonshire’s DBI’s associate programme for young people aged 16-years to 24-years and 26-years for care experienced young people, is designed to support young people who are experiencing ‘emotional distress’.

It aims to help those who don't require clinical intervention and aims to free up specialist services to see those in most need.

The service was launched last March with the local HSCP working to include the service in all “primary care” sites by June 2022 and all five secondary schools by November. As of mid-February 2023, 33 referrals have been made to the DBI service.

In December 2022, West Dunbartonshire was invited to become the fifth national pilot site to offer DBI to 14 and 15 year olds allowing education and CAMHS staff to refer 14 and 15-year-olds to the DBI service.

During the most recent HSCP councillor Martin Rooney said: “The report talks about the Distress Brief Intervention but how do people know about the service and how would someone actually access it?

“I know there are referrals but is there a self referral scheme or do you have to come into contact with the service in the first place?”

Lesley James, head of children’s health, care and justice, advised members that children and young people would be referred to DPI through a GP or school.

She said: You will see in the report that there has been a phased implementation and roll out across primary care, GP services and now we have included all the schools that have a “developed pathway” for that service.

“There are quite significant wait times in terms of school counselling for example and we want to make sure that children who could be accessing a DPI service are appropriately identified. We continue to make sure that is being developed.”

Councillor Rooney then asked why it appeared that more young women were accessing the service than boys.

Since March 2022 around 20 girls have accessed DBI and just three boys.

He said: “A lot of the people who are using the service are mainly female. Are there any particular barriers for young boys preventing them from getting involved?”

Ms James responded: “There isn’t a gender split. We have lowered the age profile to include 14 and 15 year olds. We are starting to see an increase in the referrals and the feedback from GPs and staff who have been involved in the programme have certainly identified that they have seen a need for that age group.

“That has resulted in a change in criteria but nothing specific in terms of the gender split that is particularly of note but we will keep that reviewed.”

It is anticipated that the funding will apply on a continuing basis subject to the outcome of the Scottish Government annual budget process.


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