People living in Bairnsdale can now access the life-saving Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement (HOPE) service in their local community.

HOPE is a follow-up and aftercare service for people in crisis. The service supports people who have visited a hospital following a suicide attempt. It helps them to identify strategies to build resilience against self-harm and suicide.

HOPE responds to evidence that a previous suicide attempt is one of the strongest predictors of a future attempt.

The HOPE service offers up to 12 weeks of support tailored to individuals and their chosen support network, which may include family, friends, carers, community cultural leaders and Elders.

The Bairnsdale HOPE service is being led by the Bairnsdale Regional Health Service. It is being delivered in partnership with the Latrobe Regional Hospital mental health service, which also leads the Traralgon-based HOPE service.

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System Interim Report called for a state-wide expansion of HOPE. Funding in the Victorian Budget 2020-21 is enabling a number of HOPE services in larger regional areas to provide outreach to smaller communities that would otherwise find it difficult to access the service.

The Bairnsdale service is part of a broader subregional expansion of HOPE across Gippsland. The service will shortly be available locally to people living in Warragul, Wonthaggi and Sale.