The Andrews Labor Government is saving lives and supporting people at their most vulnerable across Victoria, with the expansion of the successful Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement (HOPE) initiative.

State Labor Members for Bendigo, Maree Edwards MP and Jacinta Allan MP announced today the program will be rolled out to six new hospital and health service sites, including Bendigo Health Service.

The HOPE initiative provides practical support and follow up for people leaving hospital after a suicide attempt. Assertive outreach workers also work with families, friends and carers so they can better support their loved one during this critical time.

More than 500 people have been assessed and supported through the initiative so far, which is currently in operation at Peninsula Health, St Vincent’s Hospital, Barwon Health in Geelong; Eastern Health in Maroondah and Albury Wodonga Health in Wangaratta.

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 provided $18.7 million to expand the HOPE program, with the new sites selected based on analysis of suicide and intentional self-injury data, population demographics and community profiles.

The program will now be rolled out at Bendigo Health Service (including Mildura).

With 624 lives lost to suicide in 2016, the Labor Government is working to halve the suicide rate in Victoria by 2025, and has developed the Victorian Suicide Prevention Framework 2016-25 to achieve this goal.

In addition, the Labor Government has invested $27 million over four years to deliver a range of initiatives, including the HOPE program and community-based suicide prevention activities.

Quotes attributable to Ms Edwards

“Every year, suicide takes more than twice as many lives as the road toll – that’s simply unacceptable.

“The HOPE program has already helped hundreds of Victorians who have attempted suicide and need an intensive response in the months following, which we know can be a period of heightened risk.”

Quotes attributable to Ms Allan

“By expanding the program to more sites across the State, we are continuing to take a proactive approach to suicide prevention, working together as a community to prevent devastating outcomes.”

Posted by:Maree Edwards MP