Beyond the Emergency Project


Men in Australia experience high rates of mental health issues (including anxiety, depression, psychosis, self-harm and alcohol and other drug related harms), but they are often hesitant to seek professional help.

The Beyond the Emergency project was a three-year national research initiative that aimed to:

  • Quantify the magnitude and outline the characteristics of acute male mental health presentations to ambulance services
  • Examine paramedic and men’s experiences
  • Identify opportunities to improve mental health support for men.

To address these aims, the project undertook the following activities:

  • Mapping men’s mental health journeys through emergency services by coding ambulance services’ paramedic clinical records.
  • Understanding the experiences of men with acute mental health issues and the paramedics who support them through a national survey of paramedics and interviews with both paramedics and men
  • Providing paramedics with further training and resources to enhance their capacity to appropriately respond to men with mental health issues.

2015-16 Coded Ambulance Data

  • More than 110,000 ambulance attendances for males experiencing acute mental health issues
  • 78% were transported to hospital
  • Self-harm ambulance data indicates rates three times higher than available hospitalisation data
  • More than 60% of attendances occurred after hours
  • 42% of attendances were to men re-presenting to ambulance services
  • More than 30% of attendances involved police

Paramedic experiences

  • < 14 % reported comprehensive training for mental health responses
  • <1 in 3 felt highly confident in responding to people experiencing mental health issues

Men's experiences

Men value professionalism, compassion and positive communication when receiving paramedic support

Call to action

  • Enhance ambulance service quality to respond effectively to health promotions
  • Continue to use coded ambulance clinical records to identify, and monitor community mental health records
  • Re-design the current service system to provide timely, accessible and non-stigmatising treatment options.


Project team

Turning Point

Professor Dan Lubman, Associate Professor Belinda Lloyd, Dr Debbie Scott, Dr Michael Savic, Dr Katrina Witt, Emma Sandral, Nyssa Ferguson, Fiona Blee, National Addiction and Mental Health Surveillance Unit research team led by Ms Sharon Matthews.

Project partners

Professor Terence McCann (Victoria University), Kate Emond (La Trobe University), Dr Louise Roberts (Flinders University)

Ambulance services

Our funders

Beyond Blue with donations from the Movember Foundation

Learn more about this project