0141 552 5592


Compassionate Distress Response Service 







NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Multiagency Distress Collaborative (April 2016 to March 2019) defined distress as “an emotional state, not an illness, which is expressed and comes to our attention when a person’s internal capacities and external supports cannot contain something”. The Collaborative recommended an alternative, non-clinical response to people experiencing distress.  NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde commissioned Glasgow Association for Mental Health to deliver such a response in January 2020. The Compassionate Distress Response Service (CDRS) opened to out of hours referrals on 25th May 2020, funded to support action 15 of Scotland’s Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027. The service was extended to referrals from General Practice on 7th September 2020 as part of Glasgow City HSCP’s Primary Care Improvement Plan. An enhanced pathway for 16 to 25 year olds will be in place from late September funded by Community Mental Health Supports & Services Framework.


Overview of service


CDRS provides a listening service for people experiencing acute emotional distress. Contracted by Glasgow City HSCP, the service provides support to people aged 16+ from 9am to 2am Monday to Friday and 5pm to 2am Saturday and Sunday. Access to CDRS is via a range of referrers including staff in General Practice, first responders[1], and services within the HSCP. CDRS provides an immediate response[2] to alleviate distress with follow up support in place for up to one month following. Over 4,500 people have engaged with CDRS to date (December 2021).


Referral Pathways



Primary Care Service


GPs and their multi-disciplinary teams can refer people aged 16+. This is via SCI Gateway or telephone, 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Referrals made out with these times will be processed the next working day. CDRS Distress Response Workers will respond to individuals referred within 24 hours.

Beginning in December 2021, routine feedback will be provided where people have given their consent. This will be sent upon the person’s discharge from CDRS, via their nhs.scot account, to the clinical mailbox of the referring surgery. CDRS will also notify of non-engagement via email unless there are concerns for the person in which case this will be via phone.


Out of hours Service


First responders, Mental Health Assessment Units, Urgent Care Resource Hub, Out of Hours GP services, Emergency Departments at QUEH and GRI and Glasgow and Partners Emergency Social Work Services can refer people aged 16+, Monday to Sunday, 5pm to 2am via telephone or email.

Referral criteria and pathways PDF

Young People’s CDRS Service



Mental Health Assessment Units, CAMHS, Youth Health Service, agreed contacts in secondary schools, further education and higher education institutions, Social Work Services staff and third sector organisations* can refer 16-25 year olds, Monday to Friday from 9am to 2am and Saturday and Sunday from 5pm to 2am.



Risk management and escalation processes are in place.


CDRS staff will follow GAMH’s internal processes when a serious incident occurs. If GAMH or the contract management team become aware of any death by suicide following engagement with CDRS then this will be reviewed by the HSCP’s Specialist Services Incident Review Group in partnership with representatives from the contract management group. This will apply where the individual is not known to HSCP services and will therefore not be part of any HSCP initiated review process.

For further information contact r.ali@gamh.org.uk