Practise Hope was launched in July 2019 to support GP surgeries in Kent, Sussex and Surrey to improve services to 10 – 25 year olds who are suicidal or who self-harm.

The pilot is a collaboration between Health Education England, Olly’s Future and Mind. Some 22 practices are now signed up in Brighton and Hove, Dartford and the Medway towns and the Woking area. Three Practise Hope co-ordinators have been appointed to help surgeries with focus groups, surveys, awareness raising events and upskilling of staff. They are based at local Mind offices for each area.

This pioneering initiative is based on the PACE setter model, a development programme for primary care to lead the way in changing culture and improving services around mental health in practices. Co-production is central to the project, so children and young people, their families, other partners and surgery staff are involved in creating new ways of working. Even the Practise Hope logo, above, is the result of a CYP engagement event with 13-year-old Jemima from Brighton winning the design competition. 

Practise Hope focuses on children and young people, as well as the wellbeing of the practice staff themselves from GPs and nurses to receptionists and admin staff.  The key to success is creating a co-produced Action Plan which is sustainable. 

Each practice receives £1,000 from Health Education England for taking part in the pilot. They must complete five key activities in order to receive the HEE PACE setter award at the end of the pilot in September 2020. 

PACE setter stands for: P – Patient and staff engagement  A – Accessing services  C – Clinical best practise E – Educating and equipping

Ann Feloy, Founder and Chair of Olly’s Future, is the Patients’ Carer Lead for Practise Hope, bringing her personal insight to help improve how GP practices support children and young people. She set up Olly’s Future after she lost her son Oliver to suicide on February 14th, 2017. A former journalist, lobbyist and teacher, Ann has become a trainer in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and has helped develop a two hour suicide prevention training called ‘Pressure of Success’ to focus on young professionals and high achievers. She is also on the Zero Suicide Alliance steering group.

Dr Sam Fraser is the project’s Clinical Lead. A clinical psychologist with an extensive history of working with children and adolescents including hard to reach populations, she adopts a holistic and person centred approach to her work. In recent years Sam has been employed in a research role (for Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust and University of Sussex) helping in the development and delivery of recovery focused models of therapies for CYP in an assertive outreach capacity. As part of her new role as a Health Education England (Kent, Surrey & Sussex) Darzi fellow she hopes to apply her extensive clinical knowledge to adopting system wide change in how we manage self-harm and suicide prevention in CYP across the KSS region.

For more information about Practise Hope, please contact the Project Manager Yovina Senders at [email protected]