Ali K, Farrer L, Gulliver A, Griffiths KM. Online peer-to-peer support for young people with mental health problems: a systematic review. JMIR Ment Health. 2015; 2:(2)

Academic stress, suicidal ideation & mental wellbeing amongst 1st semester, & 3rd semester medical, engineering and general stream students. 2016. https// (accessed 26 April 2022)

Barkham M, Broglia E, Dufour G Towards an evidence-base for student wellbeing and mental health: definitions, developmental transitions and data sets. Couns Psychother Res. 2019; 19:351-357

Bartlett ML, Taylor H, Nelson JD. Comparison of mental health characteristics and stress between baccalaureate nursing students and non-nursing students. J Nurs Educ. 2016; 55:(2)87-90

Billiot J. The imagined and the real: identifying the tensions for academic identity. Higher Education Research and Development. 2010; 29:(6)709-721

Brennan D, Timmins F. Changing institutional identities of the student nurse. Nurse Educ Today. 2012; 32:(7)747-751

The invisible problem? Improving students' mental health. 2018. https// (accessed 12 April 2022)

Clompus SR, Albarran JW. Exploring the nature of resilience in paramedic practice: a psycho-social study. Int Emerg Nurs. 2016; 28:1-7

College of Paramedics. Caring for paramedics peer supporter opportunity. 2021a. https// (accessed 26 April 2022)

College of Paramedics. Reflective spaces: paramedic support groups. 2021b. https// (accessed 12 April 2022)

Daniels J, Brooker J. Student identity development in higher education: implications for graduate attributes and work-readiness. Educational Research. 2014; 56:(1)65-76

Dodge R, Daly AP, Huyton J, Sanders LD. The challenge of defining wellbeing. International Journal of Wellbeing. 2012; 2:(3)222-235

Donnelly EA, Bradford P, Davis M, Hedges C, Klingel M. Predictors of posttraumatic stress and preferred sources of social support among Canadian paramedics. CJEM. 2016; 18:(3)205-212

Dyrbye LN, Thomas MR, Shanafelt TD. Systematic review of depression, anxiety, and other indicators of psychological distress among US and Canadian medical students. Acad Med. 2006; 81:(4)354-373

Eatough V, Smith JA. Interpretative phenomenological analysis, 2nd edn. In: Willig C, Stainton-Rogers W (eds). London: Sage; 2017

Education Policy Institute. Prevalence of mental health issues within the student aged population. 2018. https// (accessed 12 April 2022)

Fellows B, Harris G. History of the UK paramedic profession. In: Wankhade P, McCann L, Murphy P (eds). New York (NY): Routledge; 2019

First S, Tomlins T, Swinburn A. From trade to profession: the professionalization of the paramedic workforce. J Paramed Pract. 2012; 4:(7)

Green A, Pound A. Undergraduate paramedics' understanding of mental health insight placements. J Paramed Pract. 2020; 12:(10)

Hassel S, Ridout N. An investigation of first-year students' and lecturers' expectations of university education. Front Psychol. 2018; 8

Haugen PT, McCrillis AM, Smid GE, Nijdam MJ. Mental health stigma and barriers to mental health care for first responders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Psychiatr Res. 2017; 94:218-229

Health and Care Professions Council. New Threshold for Paramedic Registration. 2018. https// (accessed 26 April 2022)

Measuring wellbeing in higher education. 2019. https// (accessed 12 April 2019)

Holmes L, Jones R, Brightwell R, Cohen L. Student paramedic anticipation, confidence and fears: do undergraduate courses prepare student paramedics for the mental health challenges of the profession?. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine. 2017; 14:(4)

Horgan A, McCarthy G, Sweeney J. An evaluation of an online peer support forum for university students with depressive symptoms. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2013; 27:(2)84-89

Hu T, Zhang D, Wang J. A meta-analysis of the trait resilience and mental health. Personality and Individual Differences. 2015; 76:18-27

The university mental health charter. 2019. https// (accessed 13 April 2022)

Kessler RC, Amminger GP, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Alonso J, Lee S, Ustün TB. Age of onset of mental disorders: a review of recent literature. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2007; 20:(4)359-364

Kus L, Henderson L, Batt AM. Empathy in paramedic practice: an overview. J Paramed Pract. 2019; 11:(4)

Lucas G, Gallagher A, Zasada M Understanding of complaints about paramedics: a qualitative exploration in a UK context. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine. 2019;

Macaskill A. The mental health of university students in the United Kingdom. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling. 2013; 41:(4)426-441

Mao Y, Zhang N, Liu J, Zhu B, He R, Wang X. A systematic review of depression and anxiety in medical students in China. BMC Med Educ. 2019; 19:(1)

Groundbreaking data collected on mental health of first responders. 2017. https// (accessed 13 April 2022)

Mildenhall J. Protecting the mental health of UK paramedics. J Paramed Pract. 2019; 11:(1)

Mind. Wellbeing and mental health in the emergency services. 2016. https// (accessed 26 April 2022)

Mind. Mental health in the emergency services. Our 2019 survey results—ambulance service. 2019. https// (accessed 13 April 2022)

Neubauer BE, Witkop CT, Varpio L. How phenomenology can help us learn from the experiences of others. Perspect Med Educ. 2019; 8:(2)90-97

Office for National Statistics. Estimating suicide among higher education students, England and Wales: experimental statistics. 2018. https// (accessed 13 April 2022)

O'Hara R, Johnson M, Siriwardena AN A qualitative study of systemic influences on paramedic decision making: care transitions and patient safety. J Health Serv Res Policy. 2015; 20:45-53

Ozbay F, Johnson DC, Dimoulas E, Morgan CA, Charney D, Southwick S. Social support and resilience to stress: from neurobiology to clinical practice. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2007; 4:(5)35-40

Petrie K, Gayed A, Bryan BT The importance of manager support for the mental health and well-being of ambulance personnel. PLoS One. 2018; 13:(5)

Rees N, Rapport F, Snooks H, John A, Patel C. How do emergency ambulance paramedics view the care they provide to people who self harm?: Ways and means. Int J Law Psychiatry. 2017; 50:61-67

Repper J, Carter T. A review of the literature on peer support in mental health services. J Ment Health. 2011; 20:(4)392-411

Richardson T, Elliott P, Roberts R, Jansen M. A longitudinal study of financial difficulties and mental health in a national sample of British undergraduate students. Community Ment Health J. 2017; 53:(3)344-352

Saunders B, Sim J, Kingstone T Saturation in qualitative research: exploring its conceptualization and operationalization. Qual Quant. 2018; 52:(4)1893-1907

Simmons L, Law G, Asghar Z, Gaunt R, Siriwardena AN. Understanding sickness absence in the ambulance service. Emerg Med J. 2019; 36:(13)e6-e7

Smith J. Evaluating the contribution of interpretative phenomenological analysis. Health Psychol Rev. 2011; 5:(1)9-27

Smith J, Flowers P, Larkin M. Interpretative phenomenological analysis: theory, method & research.London: Sage Publications; 2012

Smith JA, Osborn M. Qualitative psychology: a practical guide to research methods, 2nd edn. London: Sage Publications; 2011

Student Minds. Transition to university. 2018. https// (accessed 13 April 2019)

Are the current trends in paramedic education doing more harm than good?. 2017. https// (accessed 13 April 2022)

Not by degrees: improving student mental health in the UK's universities. 2017. https// (accessed 12 March 2019)

Personal tutoring and key skills development in higher education—experiences and challenges. 2013. https// (accessed 13 April 2022)

Universities UK. Minding our future: starting a conversation about the support of student mental health. 2018. https// (accessed 13 April 2022)

Universities UK. Whole university approach. 2020. https// (accessed 13 April 2022)

van der Riet P, Rossiter R, Kirby D, Dluzewska T, Harmon C. Piloting a stress management and mindfulness program for undergraduate nursing students: student feedback and lessons learned. Nurse Educ Today. 2015; 35:(1)44-49

Vigil NH, Grant AR, Perez O Death by suicide—the EMS profession compared to the general public. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2019; 23:(3)340-345

Whiting EA, Costello S, Williams B. Measuring trauma symptoms in paramedicine. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine. 2019; (16)

Wong B, Chiu YLT. University lecturers' construction of the ‘ideal’ undergraduate student. J Further Higher Educ. 2020; 44:(1)54-68

Zeng W, Chen R, Wang X, Zhang Q, Deng W. Prevalence of mental health problems among medical students in China: a meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019; 98:(18)

‘Giving a piece of you’: the lecturer experience of aiding student wellbeing

02 May 2022
Volume 14 · Issue 5



The mental health of ambulance clinicians is a national priority. For student paramedics, the risk and inherent vulnerability to poor mental wellbeing are significant. However, evidence exploring support in universities for paramedic students and the role of academic faculty in this within paramedic preregistration programmes is limited.


To explore the experiences and perceptions of university lecturers towards supporting student paramedic wellbeing.


A qualitative research design was adopted to explore the experiences of six paramedic senior lecturers from three urban universities. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews and thematically analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.


Themes of ‘navigating the professional role,’ ‘the whole student’, ‘enabling cultural change’ and ‘supporting resilience and preparedness for practice’ were identified.


University lecturers play a crucial role in student paramedic wellbeing and the unique role and identity of paramedic academics should be embraced. Paramedic programmes should consider a proactive approach to emotional health within the curriculum, alongside peer support, student-centred initiatives and tailored trauma support.

Within the last decade, there has been a rise of 500% of undergraduates experiencing poor wellbeing (Thorley, 2017) alongside a national increase in demand on university counselling services (Macaskill, 2013).

Although precise data regarding student mental health is unknown, research suggests university students are at a high risk of mental health conditions (Office for National Statistics, 2018) because a multitude of complex biopsychosocial factors, including age (Kessler et al, 2007), social transition (Student Minds, 2018), financial strain (Richardson et al, 2017) and academic stressors (Banerjee and Chaterjee, 2016).

Furthermore, higher education institutions (HEIs) have seen a 79% increase in instances of death by suicide since 2007 (Universities UK, 2018). Student mental health is receiving growing attention and has been described as a core educational and governmental priority (Education Policy Institute, 2018).

Subscribe to get full access to the Journal of Paramedic Practice

Thank you for visiting the Journal of Paramedic Practice and reading our archive of expert clinical content. If you would like to read more from the only journal dedicated to those working in emergency care, you can start your subscription today for just £48.

What's included

  • CPD Focus

  • Develop your career

  • Stay informed