Undergraduate paramedics' understanding of mental health insight placements


Aims: Paramedics are often patients' first point of contact during mental health crises, and are increasingly responding to mental health emergencies. Paramedic training focuses predominantly on trauma and emergency physical healthcare rather than mental health difficulties. A UK-based pilot evaluation study aimed to find out whether providing mental health ‘insight’ placements for paramedic students in a local mental health trust would improve their understanding of patients with mental health issues, particularly from working alongside mental health practitioners. Methods: A pre- and post-experience questionnaire was used to elicit the students' understanding of mental health. Conclusion: The tentative conclusion is that the placement increased students' understanding of mental health services and mental health patients' needs, and they gained a greater understanding of mental health concepts. Being in direct contact with mental health colleagues in practice ensured that they could link mental health theory learned as part of their degree to their experience and gain insight into multiprofessional working.

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