The national peak body for suicide prevention welcomes today’s announcement by the Victorian Government to expand the HOPE post-crisis aftercare service and significantly scale up support for people in crisis.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Nieves Murray says the decision is welcome and timely.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the community in varying ways and for many people this has been detrimental to their wellbeing. In recent weeks, the circumstances in Victoria have been particularly challenging.
“We know that providing people with connected, consistent and ongoing support after a suicide attempt – or ‘aftercare’ – can reduce additional suicide attempts by up to 20%.
“Effective aftercare is an evidence-based strategy for reducing suicide overall.
“That is why the $4 million expansion of Victoria’s HOPE post-crisis aftercare service will make a significant difference in the lives of vulnerable Victorians,” said Ms Murray.
The Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement (HOPE) initiative is designed to improve care following a suicide attempt by supporting people leaving an emergency department or medical ward.
Ms Murray said, “We also welcome the significant expansion of acute mental health beds, which will ensure that people who are experiencing significant mental health challenges, can receive the care they need at a time when the public health system is under pressure.
“Taking care of frontline workers is essential to ensuring we have a strong and capable workforce during times of crisis. We are pleased to see the government scaling up mental health and trauma support for frontline emergency service workers.
“We hope, however, that the Victorian Government is also turning its mind to tackling the situational factors and stressors that we know are linked to distress and suicidality.