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Tasnim Uddin, Amina Saadi, Megan Fisher, Sean Cross and Chris Attoe
Emergency services face increasing frontline pressure to support those experiencing mental health crises. Calls have been made for police and ambulance staff to receive…
Emergency services face increasing frontline pressure to support those experiencing mental health crises. Calls have been made for police and ambulance staff to receive training on mental health interventions, prevention of risk and inter-professional collaboration. Mental health simulation training, a powerful educational technique that replicates clinical crises for immersive and reflective training, can be used to develop competencies in emergency staff. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of mental health simulation training for police and ambulance staff.
In total, 199 participants from the London Metropolitan Police Service and London Ambulance Service attended a one-day simulation training course designed to promote effective and professional responses to mental health crises. Participants took part in one of six simulated scenarios involving mental health crisis before completing structured debriefs with expert facilitators. Participants’ self-efficacy and attitudes towards mental illness were measured quantitatively using pre- and post-course questionnaires while participants’ perceived influence on clinical practice was measured qualitatively using post-course open-text surveys.
Statistically significant improvements in self-efficacy and attitudes towards mental illness were found. Thematic analyses of open-text surveys found key themes including improved procedural knowledge, self-efficacy, person-centred care and inter-professional collaboration.
This study demonstrates that mental health simulation is an effective training technique that improves self-efficacy, attitudes and inter-professional collaboration in police and ambulance staff working with people with mental health needs. This technique has potential to improve community-based responses to mental health crises.