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Research groups

Sasha Johnston

MClinRes, PgCert Advanced Practice, IHCD Paramedic, MCPara

DPhil Candidate

  • HEE AHP Clinical Fellow (Mental Health - South West England), Research Paramedic and Ambulance service Senior Mental Health lead

Ambulance staff mental health and wellbeing

My research focuses on organisational support for ambulance staff mental health and wellbeing. Evidence suggests that the risk of mental ill health and suicide is higher among ambulance employees compared with the general population. Ambulance culture may prevent some staff from proactively asking for help. During my DPhil multiphase study I will work with ambulance staff, patient representatives and experts to develop a structured space for staff to talk about and reflect upon work-related experiences, 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 practice educator. 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 feasibility trial. I am currently employed as a Research Paramedic and senior mental health lead for SWASFT and a Health Education England (HEE) AHP Clinical fellow leading two HEE funded projects. The first will test the introduction of offering social prescribing to mental health patients presenting to the ambulance service and the second will pilot a simulated mental health placement for pre-registration paramedic students.

I am a DPhil student in the department of Experimental Psychology, supervised by Professor Lucy Bowes and Associate Professors Polly Waite and Jennifer Wild .