The Future is Bright Mental Health Future Workforce Project Conference 


The Future is Bright Mental Health Future Workforce Project Conference

On the 30th of August, the College of Paramedics Future Workforce Mental Health Project (FWMHP) officially launched three new interventions; a new national mental health and wellbeing curriculum, a WRAP wellbeing reflective support tool and an education suite for practice educators and preceptors to support pre-registration and early career paramedics.

The conference saw co-academic leads Katie Pavoni and Emma Geis present the context of the project and give an overview into the development of these interventions, which included stakeholder engagement groups with academics and subject matter experts for the development of the curriculum, a pilot study with 37 students from four different universities around the effectiveness of the WRAP support tool and finally stakeholder engagement groups with  students and practice educators for the development of a supportive package for practice educators.

We also heard the lived experience of 2nd year St George’s, University of London (SGUL) student Chloe Richards who shared her insight of taking part in the WRAP pilot study and the positive impact this had made upon her wellbeing, along with Josie Newsome, London Ambulance Service Paramedic Practice Educator who gave a powerful personal perspective on how increased awareness and understanding of mental health and wellbeing as a practice educator is vital to supporting students and the role of educators. 

Finally, Gemma Howlett, Principal Lecturer at Cumbria University, delivered an inspirational presentation which explored the importance of ensuring a culture of inclusivity which challenges discriminatory practice, celebrates the diversity of students, promotes true equality and advocates for students to be their ‘wholeselves’.

The afternoons’ structure included four best practice workshops. Peter Phillips, Course lead at Bournemouth University, and Amy Halck, Lecturer at Staffordshire University led the curriculum workshop and facilitated a discussion around how to embed the new curriculum into an already packed undergraduate program, identifying tips and tricks of integrating wellbeing into an already established curriculum. Sam O’Brien, Lecturer at Staffordshire University, developed and facilitated discussion around three case studies that will form the face-to-face element of the intervention three learning offer. These case studies were based around three hypothetical students with the aim to recognise distress and difficulty and how to support students within clinical practice. Katie Pavoni and Abi Blythe, recent St George’s, University of London graduate, presented the SGUL peer support network and facilitated a workshop on how this could be embedded into different universities, in order to promote mental health and wellbeing advocacy and compassionate communities. Finally, Emma Geis and Chloe Richards facilitated a discussion around the use of the WRAP reflective tool and supported the delegates in signing up and utilising the tool.

The day concluded with future plans for the project being outlined, which include hopes for a collaborative platform for academics and educators to come together and share best practice of how to implement the new mental health and wellbeing curriculum for pre-registration paramedics. A rigorous research study into the effectiveness of the new reflective wellbeing support tool for student paramedics (WRAP). Finally, a pilot with 5 ambulance trusts to deliver a face-to-face train the trainer education package to assist practice educators in supporting students with mental health and wellbeing needs when on clinical placement.

Feedback from delegates showed a real sense of commitment and passion for the promoting positive mental health and wellbeing within the paramedic profession and the hopeful message that together, the future is bright. 

Emma Geis: Academic Lead FWMHP, Lecturer, Keele University 

Katie Pavoni: Academic Lead FWMHP, Associate Professor, BSc Paramedic Science Course Director/Pastoral Lead, St George’s, University of London.

Click here to find out more about the Future Workforce Mental Health & Wellbeing Project