Giving HOPE during mental health recovery journeys

Members of the Peninsula Health HOPE team (L-R: Ann Fuller, Kate Woolaston, Ingrid Baarsma, Joanne Weir).

With mental health support more important than ever, we are proud to acknowledge the tremendous work of our Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) service. 

HOPE is a community-based outreach team that works with clients who have attempted suicide or been identified as being at risk of suicide.  

Comprising mental health clinicians including a mental health nurse, senior occupational therapist, senior social worker, family carer peer support worker and Consultant Psychiatrist, the team provides consistent, tailored and personalised care, helping people on their recovery journey. 

“The support provided by the HOPE team is aimed at developing a therapeutic relationship that is uniquely designed to meet individual needs,” says Peninsula Health HOPE Manager, Kate Woolaston.

“Engagement with our team is entirely voluntary. The initial screening tools, which are standard to all HOPE teams across the state, allow clients to speak about their suicidality and then develop a personalised, problem-solving recovery approach.” 

“This engagement is uniquely different for each client, which is the strength of the HOPE approach. For some people it is spending time each week speaking about their experience of life. For others it could be practical problem solving or linking to longer-term support services.” 

Growing the HOPE team at Peninsula Health

Peninsula Health was one of six pilot sites for the HOPE program, which began in 2017. During its first year, the team was made up of one clinician and a family career peer support worker. 

Since then, the team has evolved and expanded, and yesterday (15 June) celebrated their first full year working together as a collective group. 

“The client-centred and collaborative approach is really rewarding to our HOPE team members,” says Kate. 

“At this 12-month milestone, our team is now firmly established as part of the treatment options within Peninsula Health Mental Health Service, taking referrals from all internal Mental Health areas and working with non-government and private services.” 

“We are excited about the growth of other HOPE teams across the state, and the capacity of our own team to expand in the near future.”

Providing individualised, patient-centred care

Kate describes HOPE as often being the “missing support gap” for people who are in need of care that is tailored to their unique needs and circumstances, that they may not receive via other health care channels.

Through the 90-day program, the team works with clients to develop mental health strategies, conduct medication reviews, risk assessments and safety planning, and helps them liaise with external supports (GPs, psychologists, NDIS workers, etc). The service is enhanced with a family carer support worker who can work with the networks around the client.  

Individualised discharge plans are also integral to the HOPE focus of care, which can include a supported transition to external providers (psychologists, psychiatrists, etc) and a building a client’s confidence in knowing how to re-refer to Peninsula Health if needed. 

Client feedback

“I still have some work to do, but I couldn’t have done this without the HOPE program. My faith is restored in the public health system, more so in Mental Health. This is the most beautiful model of support for the vulnerable like me, even more so in the current climate”. – Former HOPE client

Learn more & refer 

To learn more about our HOPE program, please click here or visit the Victorian Government’s Suicide Prevention page

If you feel like the HOPE program could benefit you, please contact our Mental Health Telephone Triage on 1300 792 977.