CYP : Brief behavioural activation for adolescent depression

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What is BA ?

Following the success of the Let's Introduce Anxiety Management (LIAM) intervention in Scottish schools, NES TIPS-EIC will offer the following intervention designed to address Low Mood/ Depression at the early intervention level, in school settings.

The Brief BA intervention (Pass & Reynolds, 2020)  will be workbook based and supported by psychology coaching, just like LIAM, to embed the new skills into practice and make sure the right young people are seen at this level of care. The intervention usually lasts 6 - 8 weekly sessions.

Suicide and self-harm risk are managed via coaching and with individual 'Safety Plans' which highlight in, and out of, school emergency contacts/supports

What is Depression?

Depression is more common than you might think, it can affect any one of us and can be a result of many different things. Depression can impact how we think, feel and behave. As a result of depression many people report feeling irritable, tired and not enjoying things like they used to. Often people think quite negatively about themselves and about activities they used to enjoy 

This is a vicious cycle of low mood; you feel low, so you do less of what matters to you, but because of this you get less of the 'feel good factor' from life, and so feel even more low. Just doing more of what matters can have an enormous impact on our mood: 

Vicious cycle diagram


1) Feel better about ourselves

2) Feel less tired 

3) Motivate us to do more 

4) Help us to think more clearly

5) Give us a sense of achievement

6) Increase motivation 

How can Brief BA help ?

Brief BA is an evidence-based intervention that is used to treat the symptoms of depression. It is based on the idea that by doing more of certain kinds of activities, people can feel better and break out of the vicious cycle of depression. 
Brief BA guides young people to select activities from the following categories: 


Did you get something out of the activity ?


Did the activity make you feel close to anyone?


Did you enjoy the activity?


Was the activity important to you?

More Information

For more information about this NHS Education for Scotland (NES) Brief BA training and coaching offer, please contact your local TIPS-EIC LIAM department or NES Psychology.

Board Email
NHS Education for Scotland (NES)


Training resources are available for trainers and coaches of Brief Behaviour Activation:

Trainer resources: behavioural activation for children and young people | Turas | Learn (