NRS246 Emergency Care in Mental Health (8)

This subject will equip you with evidence-based knowledge and effective skills to care for persons experiencing a wide range of mental health emergencies, and/or presenting with substance induced behavioural emergencies. As a paramedic you need to function effectively in an increasingly demanding and complex environment that impacts upon physical and mental wellbeing and places you at increased risk of mental illnesses such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).    This subject is designed to assist you to broaden your capacity for self-care; strengthen your emotional resilience; recognise early signs of mental distress, engage in effective therapeutic relationships and identify how to access mental health professionals and services. 

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Bathurst Campus
Port Macquarie Campus
Bathurst Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: NRS246. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health

Enrolment Restrictions

Available only to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Clinical Practice (Paramedic).

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • Be able to describe and explain key mental health disorders/illnesses, their prevalence, clinical features, associated crises or emergencies that may arise with these conditions, evidence-based pharmacological and psychological treatments and relevant mental health services
  • Be able to identify a range of psychological strategies to use throughout a career in paramedicine that will support emotional wellbeing and resilience and reduce vulnerability to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and PTSD.
  • Be able to apply and demonstrate skills in mental state examination, mental health assessment, risk assessment, structured handover, de-escalation and behavioural management of people who are experiencing a mental health crisis and/or are drug-affected
  • Be able to describe and explain the use of current mental health legislation and underpinning ethical principles that must inform clinical practice in situations where the person may be mentally, behaviourally or cognitively impaired
  • Be able to identify and analyse research related to paramedicine?s role in responding to people with mental illness, to developing a resilient paramedic workforce and early intervention for front-line health professionals experiencing early indicators of mental distress and trauma
  • Be able to identify and demonstrate skills for effective therapeutic relationships including the identification of barriers to effective communication and, how to engage in culturally appropriate care/communication for ATSI and CALD clients and their families


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Why Mental Health for Paramedics - scope of practice; mental health presentations in pre-hospital care; mental health emergencies/crises; impact of stigma and discrimination.
  • The impact of stress and distress on paramedic well-being - depression; anxiety; PTSD.
  • Building your resilience and maintaining your mental well-being - active self -care; coping strategies; evidence-based practices that support resilience - mindfulness and compassion based practices, cognitive behavioural techniques; coaching related principles.
  • Mental illness (1) - depression, dementia and delirium; psychosis; schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and substance induced psychosis; borderline personality disorder.
  • Mental illness (2) and substance use disorders - self-harm and suicide; panic disorder; co-morbidity; overdose - alcohol and other substances.
  • Building a therapeutic relationship - barriers to effective communication; culturally appropriate care for people from ATSI and CALD backgrounds.
  • Responding to challenging behaviours - aggression and violence; de-escalation in the pre hospital setting.
  • Mental State Examination (MSE)
  • Risk assessment and handover - risk of harm to self and others; impact on patient safety in relation to transfer across services.
  • Legal and ethical issues - contemporary ethical and legal challenges with respect to mental illness; distinguish between mental emergencies and mental illness; application of the Mental Health Act in the pre-hospital setting.
  • Consumer and carer perspectives - respect and compassion; person and family centred care.
  • Pharmacology - medications used in the treatment of mental illness, drug interactions including serotonin syndrome, extrapyramidal symptoms; sedatives, hypnotics, adverse effects of antipsychotic medications.
  • Putting it altogether -demonstrate ability to undertake a competent MSE, risk assessment, required documentation and handover and justify decisions made in regard to ethical and legal issues.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.