The Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) service and LGBTIQ+ community

NWMPHN is designing and piloting training for Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement (HOPE) clinicians in Victoria to make the service safer and more inclusive for LGBTIQ+ people.

This work is guided and informed by clinical and community experts, including people with lived experience of suicide attempts and suicidal ideation. 

The Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) service provides enhanced support and outreach for people leaving an emergency department or medical ward following treatment for an attempted suicide, serious planning or intent.

But, no program, however well designed and compassionately applied, works equally across all communities.

Many LGBTIQ+ people live healthy, happy lives, but a disproportionate number experience poorer mental health outcomes and have higher risk than their peers of suicidal behaviours. This is especially so for those who identify as trans, intersex and gender diverse.

Members of these communities with lived experience of post-suicide engagement sometimes report that current protocols result in suboptimal experiences.

Some interactions with attending clinicians, support workers, and mental health staff are traumatising. The critical importance of pronouns and gender-inclusive language is sometimes neglected. Anxieties and health needs specific to transgender and intersex lives are inadequately understood or not acknowledged.

Accordingly, this project aims to:

  • increase the capability of HOPE clinicians and staff to deliver safe and inclusive mental health services to LGBTIQ+ people;
  • improve understanding of the barriers to accessing HOPE services for the LGBTIQ+ community;
  • increase positive LGBTIQ+ consumer service experience and confidence when accessing HOPE services;
  • enable the establishment of community partnerships and referral pathways between mainstream HOPE services and local LGBTIQ+ services;
  • build on the insight and skills derived from our recent national LGBTIQ+ suicide prevention trial.

A Project Advisory Group has been established by NWMPHN and includes representatives from Transgender Victoria, SwitchboardDepartment of Health (Mental Health & Wellbeing Division) and HOPE service providers from metropolitan and regional locations.

With input from LGBTIQ+ community, training needs for HOPE clinicians will be defined and suitable modules developed and piloted in early 2022.

Interested in providing insight, or receiving updates, on this project? Get in touch

Providers

Consulting agency Impact Co has been contracted to support the developing insight phase of this project which will include engagement and consultation with LGBTIQ+ community and HOPE clinicians. The Impact Co team brings a depth of understanding of the nuanced needs of LGBTIQ+ communities and an existing understanding of how to deliver services in a safe and inclusive manner. This builds on the extensive experience that the Project Team and associate members, who include:

  • Starlady (she/her), a passionate social justice advocate in the LGBTIQ+ sector, currently working as the Program Manager at the Zoe Belle Gender Collective (a trans and gender diverse advocacy and educational service).
  • Dr Maria Pallotta-Chairolli (she/her), an academic, author, activist and ally in the issues and intersections of cultural diversity, gender and sexual diversity, relationship and family diversity. Maria is a founding member of the Australia GLBTIQ+ Multicultural Council and internationally recognised for her work with LGBTIQ+ communities.

Insight

This phase of the project will include:

  • A rapid literature review to identify key themes and recommendations regarding the LGBTIQ+ community experience in accessing mental health services (especially suicide prevention and aftercare).
  • The development of learning objectives for HOPE clinicians informed through
    • workshops with LGBTIQ+ community stakeholders to understand experience and perceptions of suicide prevention services (including HOPE);
    • and workshops with HOPE clinicians to understand clinician identified needs and knowledge gaps to support working with LGBTIQ+ people.
  • A review of existing training packages to inform recommendations for training adaptation and options.

Project Plan/Timeline

Related resources

NWMPHN has already developed free training modules for general practitioners, nurses and mental health professionals to enable better care for LGBTIQ+ people, especially trans, gender-diverse and non-binary (TGDNB) clients.

LGBTIQ community awareness campaign: Speaking Up Speaks Volumes

If you are interested in being involved in either of this activity or would like more information, please contact Jo Read.

Other suicide prevention and postvention services

We fund several providers to deliver local suicide prevention services and support after suicide (postvention). Health professionals can use our System of Care search tool to find out where these services are delivered and who can benefit from them, and to access referral pathways and forms.

Health professionals can also find clinical and referral information for local suicide prevention and postvention services on HealthPathways Melbourne.

Seeking urgent help

If you, or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 000, visit your nearest hospital emergency or use any of the crisis helplines: