Perceptions and experiences of mental health support for ambulance trust employees
Johnston S., Wild J., Sanderson K., Kent B.
Background: Mental ill health among ambulance staff is widespread. Evidence suggests that, with the right support, employees experiencing mental ill health can continue to work, symptom severity can be reduced and suicide prevented. Aims: To investigate ambulance staff perceptions and experiences of organisational mental health support. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey investigated work-related stressful life events and their potential psychological impact. The survey also examined staff perceptions and experiences of organisational support and acceptability of a proposed wellbeing intervention offering mandatory time to talk at work. Findings: A total of 540 ambulance staff responded. The majority reported having experienced work-related stressful life events (n=444; 82%). Associated psychological symptoms appeared to persist for years. Perceptions about organisational support related to support uptake. Stigma, fear and embarrassment were reported as barriers to disclosure and help-seeking. Mandatory time to talk at work would be acceptable (n=400; 74%). Conclusion: The association between work-related stressful events and psychological symptoms underscores the need for interventions supported at an organisation level.