Launch of National DBT Project report

HSE Assistant National Director and Head of the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP), John Meehan, today launched The National Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Project, Ireland Report 2013-2018 on the implementation, evaluation and research outcomes of DBT in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch in the Maryborough House Hotel in Cork, he said: 

“Connecting for Life, our National Strategy to Reduce Suicide, highlights the importance of enhancing and improving therapies and interventions available to those vulnerable to suicide or self-harm. The NOSP is confident that the learning presented by the National DBT Project today, will further assist in our collective efforts to improve the effectiveness and timeliness of therapies across many different health settings.”

National DBT Report launch John Meehan

Since 2013, 23 DBT teams have been trained across Ireland to work with adult (AMHS) and child and adolescent (CAMHS) community mental health service populations. Along with pre existing teams, this brings the total number of teams to 34, covering 12 counties and representing 54% national coverage. 

As part of the national roll-out of DBT in community health services, the National DBT Project Office conducted research on the effectiveness of DBT collecting outcome data from a sample of the people receiving DBT and DBT informed therapies. An overview of the results is contained within the report as well as links to 12 peer reviewed papers in which the findings are presented in more detail.

Significant improvements were found for both adults and adolescents, with reductions in self-harming behaviours (see figures 1 and 2 below); reductions in Accident and Emergency visits (AMHS 89%; CAMHS 70% ); reductions in hospital admissions (AMHS 86%; CAMHS 71%); and bed nights used (AMHS 90%; CAMHS 95% ). A significant increase in use of skills to regulate emotions was also observed for both adults and adolescents.

National DBT Report launch John Meehan Daniel Flynn

Commenting on the findings, Daniel Flynn, Clinical Lead of the National DBT Project, Ireland said:

“Our research tells us  that DBT is  both clinically and cost effective over time when compared to standard treatments for high risk individuals. What this means in practice is that we are seeing a reduction in suicidal and self harming behaviours and an increase in the use of skills that help individuals to manage their emotions resulting in more effective problem solving.”

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