STRATEGIC INTENT TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEE MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING
The Global Paramedic Leadership Alliance (GPLA) comprises the chair of the International Roundtable on Community Paramedicine and leaders from the following:
- Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (UK & Ireland)
- Council of Ambulance Authorities (AUS/NZL/PNG)
- National EMS Management Association (USA)
- Paramedic Chiefs of Canada (CAN)
AACE and our partners in the Global Paramedic Leadership Alliance (GPLA) recognise the essential role of mental health and wellbeing in achieving a resilient workforce/sector and are committed to ensuring that the mental health and wellbeing of staff (employed and volunteer) is promoted and supported.
To enable this, the members of the GPLA have agreed, at our inaugural summit meeting in March 2018, an overarching strategic aim of identifying and implementing initiatives that promote staff psychological health and minimise psychological harm due to workplace factors in a quest to enhance mental health resilience across the paramedic/ambulance service workforce:
STRATEGIC AIM: to pro-actively provide and strengthen effective leadership across ambulance/EMS services to significantly reduce the likelihood of psychological harm to staff due to workplace factors.
The 10 steps below provide a high-level framework to underpin this aim:
1. Promote a positive mental health culture in the workplace through leadership, communication, policy and procedure, environment and work/job design
2. Reduce stigma around mental health conditions and psychological stress in the workplace
3. Improve the mental health literacy of the workforce
4. Develop the capability of staff to interact with and help someone experiencing a mental health crisis, from identification through to return to work
5. Ensure that an integrated approach to mental health and wellbeing is woven through the workplace and that leadership at all levels model behaviours and practices that promote a mentally healthy workplace culture
6. Share examples of best-practice and effective initiatives between services
7. Collaborate to ensure staff, during each phase of their career, have adequate self-awareness, knowledge and support in relation to managing their personal mental health and psychological stressors
8. Implement systems that provide the service with early notification of potential psychological harm related risk
9. Collect, monitor and respond to data that evaluates the mental health and wellbeing of the workforce and the possibility of psychological harm occurring
10. Seek internal/external specialist expertise when necessary to achieve improved mental health and wellbeing outcomes for the workforce.
These 10 steps provide high level guidance only and need to be interpreted and implemented in a manner that best suits the strategic purpose, operational and legislative environment and culture of each organisation.
Importantly, these 10 steps clearly signal that the ambulance/EMS sector believes in cultivating an emotionally safe and resilient workforce and is committed to an organisational culture that allows both good physical and mental health to flourish.
This investment will better enable the staff of our members to provide the best service to their community and deliver optimum care to patients.
Outputs from the GPLA Summit in March 2018 are available here.