There is always hope

Psychologist Alana Cross Photo: Marco De Luca

By Jessica Micallef

An outreach team based at Sunshine hospital is giving hope to people at risk of suicide.

The Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement (HOPE) team provides practical support and follow-up for people leaving hospital after a suicide attempt, their families, friends and carers.

Mid West Area Mental Health Service psychologist Alana Cross encouraged people who may be struggling to reach out for help.

“I know that it can be a very difficult experience and it can be hard to reach for help, but we’ve had very promising results from our program,” Ms Cross said.

“When people do reach out … there is that help for them. It’s just one avenue of where people can access support and the help that they need at the time.

“We feel really positive about our work.”

Ms Cross said her role within the team was to understand a person’s suicide story.

“We help people with a broad range of psychological interventions. Our aim is really around supporting people to understand … what has driven them to the point where they are really struggling.

“Our program shows … how much change can happen even when people are going through their most difficult part of their life.”

Ms Cross said the HOPE program was a 12-week program and primarily works with Brimbank and Melton residents.

The North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network has identified Melton, Brimbank and the Macedon Ranges as having higher than average suicide rates.

The network is offering a short online course – QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) – designed to help people recognise if someone they know is at risk of suicide. To access the training, Use the code PBT.

If you or anyone you know needs help contact: Lifeline: 13 11 14 or

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or