Suicide among first responders, including pre-hospital emergency providers, emergency department staff, and law enforcement, is significantly higher than among the general population. There are various forms of mental health interventions, however, knowledge held by first responders could be a predictor of mental health outcomes. Implementing an educational curriculum enhancement for emergency medical technician (EMT) students may help increase self-efficacy and knowledge of mental health.
In a community college in the southwestern United States, an educational intervention was developed to enhance mental health knowledge for EMT students. The intervention was created to include four interactions with students in the classroom setting to implement recruitment, pre and post survey completion, and a 1-hour lecture. The surveys consisted of pre and post student assessment of mental health knowledge and self-efficacy. Results suggested that EMT students increased their knowledge of mental health and personal self-efficacy. This intervention is brief and effortlessly implemented into an existing curriculum to produce strong outcomes.
This project demonstrates that a brief educational intervention offers an effective means of knowledge improvement while being cost effective and easily implemented. The use of curriculum enhancement was a novel approach and filled an identified gap in literature and education. Additional research is needed to further explore the effects of mental health knowledge enhancement for first responders.