Saf Health Work.  2022 Dec;13(4):379-386. 10.1016/

Synthesis of Evidence to Support EMS Personnel's Mental Health During Disease Outbreaks: A Scoping Review

  • 1Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness, and Performance, School of Business, Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Kitchener, ON, Canada
  • 2Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders, Waterloo, ON, Canada
  • 3School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada
  • 4Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 5Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 6Canadian Institute for Seniors Care, School of Health and Life Sciences, Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Kitchener, ON, Canada
  • 7School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada


Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel are at high risk for adverse mental health outcomes during disease outbreaks. To support the development of evidence-informed mitigation strategies, we conducted a scoping review to identify the extent of research pertaining to EMS personnel's mental health during disease outbreaks and summarized key factors associated with mental health outcomes. We systematically searched three databases for articles containing keywords within three concepts: EMS personnel, disease outbreaks, and mental health. We screened and retained original peer-reviewed articles that discussed, in English, EMS personnel's mental health during disease outbreaks. Where inferential statistics were reported, the associations between individual and work-related factors and mental health outcomes were synthesized. Twenty-five articles were eligible for data extraction. Our findings suggest that many of the contributing factors for adverse mental health outcomes are related to inadequacies in fulfilling EMS personnel's basic safety and informational needs. In preparation for future disease outbreaks, resources should be prioritized toward ensuring adequate provisions of personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control training. This scoping review serves as a launching pad for further research and intervention development.


Disease outbreaks; Emergency medical services; Mental health; Occupational stress; Organizational decision-making
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