Mental health services at NHS 24

Anyone can experience mental health issues, at any point in their life. You don’t have to deal with these problems alone.

NHS 24 mental health services are available to everyone in Scotland, of all ages. The services we offer include listening, offering advice, and guiding you to further help if required.

Phone 111 if you’re:

  • feeling distressed
  • in a state of despair
  • suicidal
  • in need of emotional support 

For an emergency ambulance phone 999.


When you phone 111 and choose the mental health option, you’ll be connected to the Mental Health Hub to speak to one of our team of Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs). These are specially trained advisers who work in mental health and are supported by Mental Health Nurses (MHNs).

PWPs can offer advice on coping with mental health symptoms. They can also recommend and connect you with other services if needed. PWPs can access a range of both NHS and charity organisations to find the right support for you.

People phone 111 for a lot of different reasons. The most common reasons include:

  • thinking about suicide
  • anxiety
  • low mood and depression
  • psychosis
  • self-harm

If an immediate response is needed, you might be referred to A&E or the emergency services.

Being connected to 111 after phoning 999

If you dial 999 and they identify a mental health concern that isn’t life threatening, they are able to direct you to the Mental Health Hub. This is to make sure you get the most appropriate care from the right professional, as close to home as possible.


If English isn’t your first or preferred language, you can use the free interpretation service Language Line. To use Language Line, phone 111 and tell the call handler you need a translator and which language you prefer.

If you use BSL, you can use the free BSL interpreting video relay service Contact Scotland BSL.

If you use a textphone you can contact NHS 24 on 18001 111 or by using the Relay UK app.

Distress Brief Intervention (DBI)

Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) connects people with local services to help them get through periods of distress or emotional pain.

DBI offers short-term support, lasting up to 14 days. It is not something that people can refer themselves to.

The 111 team can refer people over 16 to the DBI service.

Breathing Space

Breathing Space is a free confidential listening service for people over 16 in Scotland who are experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety.

When you phone Breathing Space, your call will be answered by one of the specialist advisers. They come from a range of mental health, counselling, and social work backgrounds.

The advisers can listen and offer support if you feel overwhelmed or alone. They can also suggest other resources and organisations where appropriate.

You don’t have to give your name or any personal details unless you want to. Breathing Space never record a call, but they can ask the police to trace a call if they think someone is in danger.

You can phone Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles. There’s also a webchat service available at

The Breathing Space phoneline is available:

  • 24 hours at weekends (6pm Friday to 6am Monday)
  • 6pm to 2am on weekdays (Monday to Thursday) 

Children and young people under 16

The Mental Health Hub at NHS 24 is open to people of all ages.

Another service offered by NHS 24 is helping you to find resources and other organisations that could help. There are a number of charities that specialise in helping young people.


Childline provide support for young people under 19 struggling with mental health issues, or any other problem.

You can phone 0800 1111 to speak to an adviser 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Calls are free from landlines and mobiles and calls can be made even if you have no credit on your mobile. Calls to Childline will not appear on your phone bill.

There’s also a one-to-one webchat service available on their website.

Last updated:
06 February 2024