In the Five-Year Forward View for Mental Health, the Department of Health and Social Care set out its ambitions to reduce suicide by 10 per cent by 2020/21. In 2018/19, those Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) with the highest suicide rates were given funding to develop suicide prevention and reduction schemes. One of these was the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) STP.
One of the projects funded by the BNSSG STP was the expansion of the HOPE service. HOPE (Help fOr People with money, Employment, benefit or housing problems) addresses the distress created by debt, financial, employment or welfare difficulties. It uses a ‘psychosocial’ approach, which means it takes psychological and social environment factors into account.
HOPE was piloted by BNSSG Clinical Commissioning Group, the University of Bristol and the voluntary and community sector in 2016. In 2018, the CCG commissioned Second Step, a local charity, to roll out the service across BNSSG.
Men aged 30-64 who presented at hospital following self-harm, or those identified to be at risk of suicide because of financial difficulties, were referred to the service. Referrals were mainly from the hospital mental health crisis and psychiatric liaison teams following admission to A&E. Others were self-referrals, or referrals from other agencies such as the Department of Welfare and Pensions (DWP), energy companies, money advice service or foodbanks.
The men were offered one-hour one-to-one sessions with a HOPE worker who gave help with money problems as well as psychosocial support using motivational interviewing. In the sessions the HOPE worker:
The number of sessions depended on what each person needed.
This project aims to see if HOPE helped prevent suicide, self-harm and suicidal thoughts among middle-aged men in financial difficulties. We will talk to people who have used the HOPE services to find out about their experiences of the support they received, any barriers they experienced to engaging with the service and what they got out of using the service.
This study will help us understand whether people have benefitted from using HOPE services, and if HOPE reduces the risk of suicide and self-harm. It will inform the delivery of the HOPE service and a possible national roll-out.