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Hope Inside


Hope Inside was established in response to recommendation three of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (RCVMHS) interim report. This recommendation was for the immediate expansion of the community-based Hospital Outreach Post-Suicide Engagement (HOPE) service across the State, as part of an overall strategy to improve outcomes for people living with mental illness who are involved with the criminal justice system in Victoria.

What is Hope Inside?

Hope Inside is a voluntary, brief psychosocial program that supports people in prison after a suicidal crisis, who otherwise would not be eligible for forensic mental health services.

People who have attempted suicide or experienced a suicidal crisis often experience severe distress in the days and weeks immediately after the attempt and are at high risk of attempting again. As part of Hope Inside, clients will be supported for an initial six-week period (up to a maximum of 12 weeks), with face-to-face contact made within two business days of receiving the referral.

Hope Inside aims to assist clients to increase their awareness of the drivers of their suicidal crisis and to address these using a recovery-oriented and strengths-based approach. Clients are supported to consider what a meaningful future would look like for them and to problem solve ways this can be achieved in their current environment. Psychosocial interventions to bolster resilience, strengthen protective factors, and reduce distress, are tailored according to the needs of the client. Coordination and linkage to existing prison-based services and/or community services (if due for release), is a key part of the service, to ensure longer-term wrap around support for Hope Inside clients after discharge.  

Where is Hope Inside based?

The following locations were identified as priority locations for the initial roll-out of Hope Inside:

  • Melbourne Assessment Prison
  • Metropolitan Remand Centre
  • Dame Phyllis Frost Centre

Referral criteria

People referred to the program should satisfy all the following criteria:

  • Accommodated at MRC, MAP, DPFC
  • Have engaged in suicidal behaviour or demonstrate serious suicidal ideation, intent, or planning
  • Who have been assessed via reception/Interprison review, Risk Review Team (RRT) or clinical team as needing support to manage suicidal behaviour.
  • Who have passed the acute phase of the suicidal crisis.
  • Not otherwise engaged with Forensic Mental Health Services or more appropriately serviced by another existing service provider
  • Who are willing to participate in the program (i.e., it is a voluntary program).

Hope Inside implementation

Hope Inside has commenced at all three locations. The roll-out includes ongoing refinement of processes to ensure the program is meeting the needs of consumers and the system. Justice Health will commence the evaluation from November 2023.

Ongoing opportunities for clinicians to join the team. Check E-Recruit for the latest advertisements.

More information

For more information, please contact Dr Jenny Patterson, Hope Inside Initiative Lead.