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112 What's your emergency? Overview of mental health and sleep disorders among emergency medical dispatchers in a French 112 call center.

BACKGROUND: Emergency medical dispatchers (EMD) experience significant occupational stress. Medical dispatching includes call-taking, triage, dispatch, and providing callers gesture guidance to the victims. Every decision has a major impact on the patient's outcome. Chronic exposure to stress and potentially traumatic situations, combined with night shifts can impact the stress response and physical health of staff.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the prevalence of mental health and sleep disorders among EMD personnel working in a 112-call center, prior to an evidence-based prevention intervention (primary outcome); and to assess the relationship between health outcomes and DM (secondary outcome).

METHODS: We conducted a descriptive, monocentric study with 109 EMD. HAD Anxiety (HAD-A) and Depression (HAD-D) scores, and the PTSD checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) were used to explore mental health disorders. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and other analog scales were used to explore sleep disorders. DM resources were assessed using the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI), and its Presence and Acceptance subscales.

RESULTS: A total of 72% of the EMD working in the call center were included. Of these, 16.6% had moderate anxiety disorder, and 6.4% had an anxiety disorder (Mean HAD-A: 6.05 ± 2.88). Furthermore, 16.6% had a moderate depression disorder, and 6.4% had a depression disorder (Mean HAD-D: 4.28 ± 3.28), and 16% had symptoms of PTSD (Mean PCL-5: 17.57 ± 13.67). Turning to sleep, 39% may suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), and 10% had confirmed EDS (Mean Epworth score 10.47 ± 4.41). Finally, 39% had moderate insomnia, and 59% had severe insomnia (Mean insomnia: 13.84 ± 5.77.). Medium-strength negative correlations were found between mental health and DM (FMI scores and sub-scores: -0.48 < r < - 0.29; 0.001 < p < 0.004); and a positive correlation was found between DM and daytime awareness (0.22 < r < 0.26; 0.01 < p < 0.03).

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of depression, symptoms of PTSD, and sleep disorders in our sample of EMD is significant, and confirms findings reported in the literature. The EMD population may benefit from specific, multi-level interventions that target mindfulness, sleep, and ergonomics to improve their mental and physical health.

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