Gaps in out of hours support for young people facing mental health crises can lead to young people unnecessarily presenting at A&E, being inappropriately admitted to paediatric wards, or even ending up in care in an out of county placement.
Extended HOPE in Surrey built on an existing daytime service for 11- to 18-year-olds in the early stages of emotional and mental health difficulties.
Extended HOPE is a jointly commissioned and funded, multi-agency service that provides therapeutic support for young people who have complex mental health, education and social care needs that cannot be met by one agency alone. The project set up an Assessment and Support Service that included both telephone contact and home visits, and the integration of a Residential Service (HOPE House) for young people facing mental health crisis out of hours.
The DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2017 found that the primary outcome was achieved, and that young people’s out-of-hours mental health needs were met more appropriately by this service. Two-thirds (66%) of the Assessment and Support Service’s telephone support prevented events and three-quarters (76%) of face-to-face contacts in the Assessment and Support Service prevented events. There was a positive cost benefit outcome equating to a saving of £3 for every £1 invested in the Extended HOPE project. Even under the most pessimistic scenario of 50% outcome sustainability, the outcome remains positive with a saving of £1.5 for every £1 invested.