More resources for suicide prevention

LAUNCHING THE HOPE PROGRAM AT GV HEALTH… GV Health CEO, Matt Sharp, Victorian Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley. GV Health board chair, Rebecca Woolstencraft, Member for Shepparton District, Suzanna Sheed. Photo: Steve Hutcheson

Victoria has a disturbing statistic that we lose more loved ones to suicide than we do via road accidents and it is 40 percent higher in regional Victoria than it is in Melbourne.

The recent Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system made a series of interim recommendations that the Victorian Government has committed to implement.

One of these recommendations was to provide additional resources and better access to mental health facilities with the Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program. The HOPE program has so far been trialled with success in 12 locations across the state and more than 2,500 people have been assessed and supported through the initiative so far.

The Victorian Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley attended GV Health on Thursday to announce that the Victorian Government will soon be rolling the program out in the Goulburn Valley.

As Dr Ravi Bhat, clinical director for mental health services at GV Health pointed out at the launch, suicide is a complex issue. The recent interim report from the Royal Commission found too many Victorians needing help can’t find suitable support and people living with mental illness are waiting longer and getting sicker before they can access services.

Minister Foley said, “Whether we’ve experienced it ourselves or watched a loved one suffer – every Victorian has felt the impacts of mental health. As a community, a state and a government, we need to work together to fix the system.”

It was reported at the launch that for each person who suicides, the impact reaches around 145 family, friends and service providers who are in some way connected with the person.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.