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. The services we offer include listening, offering advice, and guiding you to further help if required.

Urgent advice: Phone NHS 24 on 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 our team of psychological wellbeing practitioners (PWPs). These are specially trained advisors who work in mental health.

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

You’ll speak to one of our PWPs, and there are also mental health nurses available.

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

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


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 contactSCOTLAND-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)

A DBI connects people with local services to help them get through periods of distress or emotional pain.

DBI's offer short-term support, lasting up to 14 days. DBI 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 confidential listening service for people over 16 experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety. You don’t have to give your name or any personal details unless you want to.

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

Breathing Space advisors understand that you might feel nervous about picking up the phone, and unsure about what to expect. You can talk at your own pace about what's on your mind, or ask about helpful resources in your area.

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

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.

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger

This service provides free, confidential, 24/7 crisis support to young people across the UK by text message.

If you're experiencing a mental health crisis and need support, you can text "YM" to 85258. You’ll be connected with a trained volunteer who will introduce themselves, and discuss your feelings over as many texts as needed to get you in a calm, safe place.

The volunteer might point to other services, so that you can continue to get longer term support.

UK mobile networks that support the texting service
  • BT Mobile
  • EE
  • GiffGaff
  • iD Mobile
  • Telecom Plus
  • Tesco Mobile
  • Three
  • Lebara
  • O2
  • Sky Mobile
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Vodafone

Other networks can still use the service but you may be charged for each text you send and the texts may appear on any itemised billing. 


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 advisor 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:
16 December 2022