Simulation and mental health outcomes: a scoping review

Brett Williams, Priya Reddy, Stuart Marshall, Bronwyn Beovich, Lesley McKarney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: A scoping review was conducted in order to map and determine the gaps in literature on the impact of simulation as an educational approach to improve mental health care outcomes. As it became apparent that no literature existed on this topic, the study aimed to examine the educational impact of simulation on mental health education. Methods: An established five-stage scoping methodology was used: (1) identification of the research question, (2)identification of relevant studies, (3) study selection, (4) charting the data and (5) collation, summarising and reporting of results. CINAHL, ProQuest, PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsychINFO databases were searched. These databases were deemed to represent a majority of the literature while accommodating for the particular search strategy used for this review. Websites that provide grey literature were also searched for articles of relevance.Results: A total of 48 articles were included in this review, with a considerable portion of studies conducted in the USA and UK. Others were conducted in an array of locations including Australia, Canada, Iran and Taiwan. Of the included articles, seven groups of simulation methods (including standardised patients, virtual reality and manikins as patients) were evident, with standardised patients being most prominent.Conclusions: Literature is lacking to evidence the benefit of simulation on mental health patient outcomes.However, the available literature suggests a variety of simulation-based education, and training methods are currently being used within mental healthcare education. The findings do suggest some methods of simulation,such as the use of standardised patients, are more commonly used in education and have been deemed as effective to assist in mental health education. As no article specifically examining the mental health outcomes of patients treated by health professionals taught by simulation was identified, the educational outcomes outlined in this paper may be used to inform further research, incorporating mental health patient outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Simulation
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2017


  • Students
  • Health occupations
  • Patient simulation
  • Mental health
  • Manikin

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