Beyond the Emergency
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
- 110,000 More than 110,000 ambulance attendances for males experiencing acute mental health issues
- 78% were transported to hospital
- 3x higher Self-harm ambulance data indicates rates 3 time higher than available hospitalisation data
- More than 60% of attendances occurred after hours
- 42% of attendances were to men re-presenting to ambulance services
- 30% More than 30% of attendances involved police
- < 14 % reported comprehensive training for mental health responses
- <1 in 3 felt highly confident in responding to people experiencing mental health issues
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.
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 Sharon Matthews.
Professor Terence McCann (Victoria University), Kate Emond (La Trobe University), Dr Louise Roberts (Flinders University)
- Ambulance Tasmania (Alex Wilson)
- Ambulance Victoria (Professor Karen Smith)
- Australian Capital Territory Ambulance Service (Carol Brook)
- New South Wales Ambulance Service (Kevin McLaughlin, Rosemary Carney)
- Queensland Ambulance Service (Dr Emma Bosely)
- South Australia Ambulance Service (Melanie Thorrowgood)
- St John Ambulance Northern Territory (Dr Matthew Eastham)
Learn more about this project
- Lubman, D., Lloyd, Scott, D., McCann, T., Savic, M., Witt, K., Sandral, E., Ferguson, N., Blee, F., Emond, K., Roberts, L., Matthews, S. (2019). Beyond the Emergency: A national study of ambulance responses to men's mental health. Victoria: Beyond blue and Movember Foundation.
- Ferguson, N., Savic, M., McCann, T. V., Emond, K., Sandral, E., Smith, K., ... & Lubman, D. I. (2019). “I was worried if I don’t have a broken leg they might not take it seriously”: Experiences of men accessing ambulance services for mental health and/or alcohol and other drug problems. Health Expectations, 22(3):565-574.
- McCann, T., Savic, M., Ferguson, N., Bosley, E., Smith, K., Roberts, L., Emond, K., & Lubman, D. (2018). Paramedics' perceptions of their scope of practice in caring for patients with non-medical emergency-related mental health and/or alcohol and other drug problems: a qualitative study. PLOS ONE.
- McCann, T., Savic, M., Fergusson, N., Cheetham, A., Witt, K., Emond, K., Bosley, E., Smith, K., Roberts, L., & Lubman, D. (Accepted 11 Oct 2018). Recognition of, and attitudes toward, people with depression and psychosis with/without alcohol and other drug problems: Results from a national survey of Australian paramedics. BMJ Open.