Why do ambulance employees (not) seek organisational help for mental health support? A mixed-methods systematic review protocol of organisational support available and barriers/facilitators to uptake.
Johnston S., Sanderson K., Bowes L., Wild J.
INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating a wide range of symptoms of poor mental health among emergency medical service (EMS) ambulance populations. Evidence suggests that using organisational support can improve employee outcomes and in turn, patient outcomes. Understanding why EMS staff do and do not use support services is therefore critical to improving uptake, ensuring equitable access, and potentially influencing workforce well-being, organisational sustainability and patient care delivery. This systematic review aims to identify what support is available and any perceived barriers and facilitators to accessing and utilising organisational support. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Searches performed between 18 February 2022 and 23 February 2022 will be used to identify studies that report barriers and facilitators to EMS employee support among all government/state commissioned EMS ambulance systems. Electronic databases, AMED, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, EMBASE, EMCARE, HMIC, Medline and PsycINFO will be searched. All relevant English-language studies of adult employees of government/state commissioned EMS ambulance organisations published since December 2004 will be screened and relevant data extracted by two independent reviewers. A third reviewer will resolve any disagreements.The primary outcome is the identification of perceived barriers or facilitators to EMS staff using organisational support for mental health. The secondary outcome is the identification of supportive interventions offered through or by ambulance trusts. Study selection will follow Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, and the methodological quality of included studies will be appraised by administering rating checklists. A narrative synthesis will be conducted to report qualitative and quantitative data and will include population characteristics, methodological approach and information about barriers and facilitators. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval is not required because only available published data will be analysed. Findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publication and conference presentation. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42022299650.