Expanding the Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program, and increased support and outreach for Victorians at risk of suicide.

What the Royal Commission said

The Royal Commission's interim report calls for an increased focus on suicide prevention.

The report recommends an expansion of the Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program to all area mental health services across Victoria.

HOPE is a follow-up and aftercare service for people who attend a hospital emergency department in crisis or following a suicide attempt. HOPE provides both clinical and social support to individuals and their personal support networks including family, friends and other carers. The program addresses the complex issues and life stressors that can lead to someone feeling suicidal.

The recommendation also calls for further outreach in rural and regional areas, additional referral pathways and extended service hours so that more people can access the HOPE service.

In addition, the Royal Commission recommends developing a new HOPE service for children and young people who have self-harmed or are at risk of suicide.

What are the opportunties?

The Royal Commission's interim report outlines the need to take action now to address the challenges with the current approach to care following a suicide attempt: Currently the HOPE service:

  • is only available in some parts of Victoria
  • is only available via a referral from a hospital emergency department
  • is not available to people under the care of a clinical community-based mental health team
  • hours are mostly limited to Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
  • does not reflect the specific needs of children and young people who have self-harmed or are at risk of suicide.

What are we doing?

We are working with area mental health services to:

Expand HOPE state-wide

We are working with expanding HOPE service delivery from 12 sites to all 21 Victorian regions.

This expansion involves extra resources for regional HOPE programs to provide clinical outreach to subregional health services, so they can provide care for people in their communities.

We will work with new and established HOPE providers to ensure there is a consistent approach to how the HOPE service is delivered across all sites.

Enable broader access to HOPE

In partnership with area mental health services, we will develop an expanded referral process for HOPE.

The new referral process will mean clinical community-based teams can refer consumers and their carers and families to their local HOPE service, without the need for a hospital admission. This will help more people in need to access the program, and reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments.

Deliver a new HOPE service and care model designed for children and young people

We are partnering with the following four specialist youth mental health services to develop a new child and youth HOPE service:

  • Alfred Health
  • Monash Children's Hospital
  • Royal Children's Hospital
  • Orygen.

The child and youth HOPE care model will be developed with young people and their families, carers or other personal support networks. It will be delivered by a child and youth-friendly workforce and have strong links to other mental health, community and youth-focused services.

The child and youth HOPE program will initially be delivered by the four health services across Melbourne. Evaluation of the service will inform future scope and expansion.