The assessment and management of patients presenting with a mental health crisis in the emergency setting

A review of the literature.

As part of psychiatric health care reforms, there was an integration of mental health services and general health services nationally. This resulted in an increase in the number of patients presenting to emergency services for assistance with acute mental health disorders. Studies have shown a significant increase in patients presenting to emergency departments, police and paramedics for acute mental health care. Studies have also reported this same group of emergency service professionals feel under-prepared educationally to assist people with a mental health crisis.

The 14th International Mental Health Conference would like to thank Ms Lisa Bowerman, Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Practice, University of Tasmania for presenting this seminar prepared by herself and her co-authors at the recent “Opening Doors” conference 5-7 August at Outrigger Surfers Paradise.

This presentation discussed the various methods used by emergency department medical staff, police and paramedics to assess and manage patients with acute mental health problems as part of a literature review that was undertaken by the authors.

Lisa Bowerman MHlthSc (Ed) BHlthSc (Prehospital Care) is a Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Practice and Coordinator of the Bachelor of Paramedic Practice (Hobart Campus) in the School of Medicine, University of Tasmania. Lisa worked as an Intensive Care Paramedic and Paramedic Educator with Ambulance Tasmania. Her academic interests include paramedic education and research and she is a PhD candidate exploring the relationship between confidence and knowledge, clinical skills and attitudes when assisting patients with mental illness and suicide ideation. A Paramedic perspective.

If you would like to hear some of the presentations from this conference you can download podcasts from our website by clicking here.