A new study is being launched to investigate the lived experiences of those with a mental health condition, disability or impairment who have come into contact with the UK’s emergency services.
This qualitative research is being conducted by advocacy charity, POhWER, with the aim of finding out more about how the emergency services interact with this group of people, where there are conflicts and what potential solutions can be implemented to ensure that all people receive the same quality of treatment.
Researchers will interview people living with a mental condition, disability or impairment who have personally had an experience with emergency services, including those who have been banned, discouraged or turned away from using emergency services.
They will also speak to people who have supported someone using emergency services, through holding the role of a carer, family member or advocate; and those who have worked or currently work in emergency services delivering support to people who live with mental health issues and disabilities.
POhWER is hoping that, through taking this listening approach rather than pushing out a tick-box survey, it will acquire more holistic and meaningful feedback.
Helen Moulinos, Chief Executive at POhWER, said: “Through the work we do at POhWER, our advocates regularly hear from people living with mental health and disabilities who have had mixed experiences when engaging with emergency services. While some report being treated with complete respect, others have questioned what rights they had in seemingly difficult situations, including where restrictions are in place that limit their use of – or bar them completely from – services that could potentially be lifesaving.
“But there are now 13.5 million people in the UK living with these conditions, so it has never been more important to understand their experiences and, if there are persistent issues that people are dealing with, work together to improve the processes and strengthen human rights in these situations. Living with mental health, impairment or disability should not be a barrier to receiving life-saving emergency support.”