Mental health in young adult emergency services personnel: A rapid review of the evidence

A. M. Taylor, J. H. Cocks, M. C. Ashe, M. Van Hooff, S. Lawn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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This rapid review focussed on the mental health and wellbeing of young adult (16–25 years) emergency service volunteers and personnel. The study aimed to synthesise evidence on the experience of mental health conditions and wellbeing in this cohort. The review methods followed the Cochrane Rapid Review Guidelines and was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020185937). Three databases were searched (PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO) with three concept terms; 1) emergency service personnel (paid/volunteer), 2) young adults, and 3) mental health and wellbeing. The search yielded 6521 studies, of which 15 met the inclusion criteria. Studies involved diverse samples and contexts, including a range of countries, and with varying service types (e.g., firefighters, medical technicians, aid workers, police). A narrative synthesis yielded two main themes from these studies: 1) rates of disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety, and 2) impact (including cumulative) of exposure. These themes are further discussed in the context of factors that may contribute to positive mental health and wellbeing, as identified in the included studies. Young emergency services personnel encounter uniquely challenging experiences in their work role that may contribute to adverse mental health. Understanding multiple factors at individual, social, and organisational levels may be useful in informing evidence-based training and support to minimise risk. This may enhance mental health and wellbeing in young adult personnel in emergency services. There is a scarcity of research focussed on this age group and on volunteer personnel, highlighting the need for future research focussed on these groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103605
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Early online date3 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • Emergency service personnel
  • Mental health
  • Volunteer
  • Wellbeing
  • Young adult


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