To help resolve high suicide rates in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, the charity Second Step was commissioned to roll-out the Hope service offering a psychosocial intervention for men, supporting them through acute distress and addressing financial difficulties. This study evaluated the impact of the Hope service on men at risk of suicide experiencing financial and other difficulties.
Mixed methods study using: (i) a prospective cohort study design to compare depression, suicidal ideation and financial self-efficacy scores of men aged 30–64, referred to the service between October 2018 and July 2020, at baseline and 6 months follow-up and between low and moderate to high-intensity service users; and (ii) a qualitative interview study to evaluate the acceptability and impact of the Hope service to Hope service users.
There was a 49% reduction in depression score (mean reduction − 10.0, 95% CI − 11.7 to − 8.3) and in the proportion of service users with suicidal ideation (percent reduction − 52.5, 95% CI − 64.1% to − 40.9%) at 6 months follow-up compared to baseline. Financial self-efficacy scores increased by 26% (mean increase 2.9, 95% CI 1.8 to 3.9). Qualitative accounts illustrated how ‘Hope saved my life’ for several men interviewed; most respondents described being able to move forward and tackle challenges with more confidence following the Hope intervention. Professional advice to tackle financial and other difficulties such as housing helped to relieve anxiety and stress and enable practical issues to be resolved.
The Hope service offered practical and emotional support to men who have experienced suicidal feelings, redundancy, homelessness and poverty and occupies an important space between mental health and social care provision. Hope demonstrates the value of an intervention which cuts across traditional boundaries between psychiatric care and social advice agencies to provide, what is, in effect, an integrated care service.