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Sasha Johnston

MClinRes, PgCert Advanced Practice, IHCD Paramedic, MCPara

DPhil Candidate

  • Research Paramedic and Ambulance service academic support lead

Ambulance staff mental health and wellbeing

My research focuses on organisational support for ambulance staff mental health and wellbeing. Ambulance staff are higher risk for mental ill health and suicide compared with the general population, although ambulance culture may prevent vulnerable staff from proactively asking for help. My DPhil aims to explore the acceptability and feasibility of ambulance organisations providing a mandatory space for employees to talk, reflect upon work-related impact and to be signposted to support services if needed. The proposed multiphase study will work with ambulance staff and experts to develop a structured space for staff to talk and reflect, whilst assessing the feasibility of conducting a larger post-doctoral randomised controlled trial.

My DPhil is part-funded by NHS England and NHS Horizons and is supported by South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust, the College of Paramedics and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.


After working as an Emergency Medical Technician in South West England and the Carribbean island of Grand Cayman, I qualified as a paramedic in 2008. I have held a number of roles in the ambulance service including frontline lead paramedic, a member of the project team that set up the UK's first Ambulance Hazardous Area Response Team and a mentor paramedic. After completing a PgCert in Advanced practice with the University of the West of England in 2016, I successfully applied for NIHR funding to complete a Masters in Clinical Research with the University of Plymouth. My dissertation focused on ambulance employee perceptions and experiences of organisational mental health support. Following completion of the MClinRes, I became lead research paramedic for the NIHR funded 'TIME' Take home naloxone trial and am currently employed as an Academic support lead and Research paramedic. I am a DPhil student in the department of Experimental Psychology, supervised by Associate Professor Lucy Bowes and Associate Professor Jennifer Wild.

Recent publications

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