Seventeen people contributed their experiences of attending an emergency department (ED) with a mental health related concern for the Mental Health Care in the Emergency Department: Learning from Lived Experience project. These accounts have been analysed and used to develop online resource to support ED clinicians, emergency care nurses, consulting psychiatric registrars and other staff located within EDs around Australia.
Participants’ experiences and perspectives vary according to age, gender, and geographical location, and include diverse experiences of mental healthcare with ED settings located in both metropolitan and regional areas. People described involuntary presentations and voluntary attendances, alone or with a support person. Some people described a single presentation to the ED, whereas other people reported more than 10 presentations over time.
Participants were between 21 and 68 years old at the time of their interviews. We spoke to twelve women, four men and one person was non-binary. Twelve people were single, two were married, one was in a de facto relationship, and two people were separated. Three people had children. People's education backgrounds varied, with one person leaving secondary school in Year 10, five people completing secondary school, one person attending TAFE and nine people attending university. Seven people were in paid work, including five in casual or part-time roles and two who were working full-time. Four people were involved in voluntary work, two were studying, two were not working and one person was retired.