What is the online support service and how does it work?
The Online Support Service is an online instant messenger chat helpline run by our fantastic volunteers and staff. We're mostly a listening service and can help talk you through whatever is going on for you on that day. We can also help signpost you to more long-term support. If we're not online then you can leave us a message and we will get back to you during the next session.
Our volunteers are all LGBTQ+ and have personal experiences of mental health challenges. You can message us about anything relating to LGBTQ+ identities and mental health. People get in touch about everything from suicidal feelings to wanting to chat about drag race if they're a bit lonely!
Tell us about your themed sessions?
Many of our sessions are open to anything you want to talk about but we do have some specialist themed sessions for particular topics. Weekly we have a session for People of Colour, a session for trans and non-binary people, a session about housing, and a session about domestic violence. We also have a fortnightly Work It Out session for people in paid employment and the first Tuesday of every month our fantastic counselling team do an “Ask Me Anything" session. These themed sessions are a great opportunity to speak to specialists and people with lived experience but you don't have to wait for the next themed session, you can talk to us about any of these topics anytime.
What training do the volunteers receive?
All the volunteers go through our week-long training programme which covers LGBTQ+ identities, mental health, confidentiality, consent, boundaries, safeguarding, listening skills, dealing with difficult situations, and how to support someone who is suicidal. This is followed by a minimum of 8 hours shadowing an experienced volunteer before going on to volunteer with us. We also have a programme of ongoing trainings that volunteers can choose to attend. Recent trainings have included topics like anti-racism, neurodiversity, HIV and trans healthcare.