Being ambulance staff can be a high-stress job. They encounter many situations in their daily line of work that can have a lasting impact on their mental health. According to MIND, around nine in ten emergency services staff have experienced poor mental health at some point in their career. Another study estimated that around 22% of ambulance staff have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Ambulance staff are often the first to attend the site of many difficult scenes, including deaths by suicide. We interviewed ambulance staff about the impact that responding to deaths by suicide has on their mental health. We found that not only did many feel ill-equipped to respond to these calls, these events also had a severe impact on their mental health.
We carried out interviews with nine