Beyond the Emergency
A national study of ambulance responses to men’s mental health
“In Australia, 75% of suicides are men.” – Movember Foundation 2019
Our world first study – Beyond the Emergency – with Monash University and in partnership with ambulance services Australia wide, investigated the scale and nature of male mental health presentations to ambulance services.
The three year research program found that men experiencing acute mental health issues frequently present to ambulance services, with paramedics feeling that they are poorly equipped to respond effectively. Findings consistently highlight a service system that is not working for men or ambulance services.
This ground breaking research paints a more complete picture of male suicidal behaviour in Australia, which could be up to three times higher than hospital estimates.
The research team coded ambulance clinical records from all states and territories, except South Australia and Western Australia. The team found that between July 2015 and June 2016 there were more than 110,000 ambulance attendances to men experiencing acute mental health issues:
The national survey of paramedics revealed only 14 per cent reported comprehensive mental health training, and two in three felt underprepared in responding to mental health presentations. Interviews with paramedics supported the survey data, and stressed the need for organisational and whole-of-system responses to support paramedics to provide appropriate care to people affected by mental health issues.
The research team also interviewed men who had recently accessed an ambulance service for mental health issues. In these conversations, men spoke about how they valued empathy, non-judgment and professionalism when seeing paramedics and how they also needed more support from the system.
The Beyond the Emergency report recommends better training for paramedics, sustained use of ambulance records to identify and monitor community health needs and a sweeping overhaul of the current service system.
We invite you to download and read the Beyond the Emergency report and continue the conversation to demand better support for men and everyone in Australia affected by suicide and mental health issues.
You may also be interested in reading the papers below:
- Patient experiences of paramedic care paper
- Paramedic perceptions of their role in addressing mental health and/or AOD issues paper
- Paramedic attitudes to people with mental health
If you or someone you know is affected by a mental health or alcohol and other drug issue, please seek support. You may like to call or chat to someone online at these free and confidential services:
- Beyond Blue, phone 24/7 on 1300 224 636 or online chat (3PM – 12AM AEST or email responses within 24 hours).
- DirectLine, phone 24/7 on 1800 888 236 (Victoria only)
- Counselling Online, 24/7 online chat