Mental health in the care of paramedics: part 1

Mental health disorders are common, presenting frequently in emergency and prehospital settings. Patients suffering from psychotic disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, substance misuse disorders, maternal psychiatric disorders, personality disorders and parasuicidal behaviours commonly present to the emergency services. Although the advanced management of such conditions requires considerable therapeutic sophistication, emergency health care services can contribute greatly to the initial management of patients. In the first of a two-part series, this article will provide an overview of mental health services and provide guidance on the early management of personality disorders, depression, anxiety and psychotic conditions.

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