LGBTQ+: Interligne forced to hang up at night

LGBTQ+: Forced interline; to hang up at night

“While the government sleeps, Interligne saves lives.” This is the slogan chosen by the organization that listens to and supports members of the LGBTQ+ community, to sound the alarm. Due to a lack of subsidies and lack of resources, Interligne announced this week the imminent closure of its nighttime assistance and information service.

This telephone line usually provides nocturnal psychological support to people of sexual and gender diversity who are in distress. Each year, approximately 35,000 people use the Interligne listening service in Quebec, a third of them at night.

The announcement of this line closure comes in a context marked by an increase in calls for help associated with situations of psychological distress, violence and particularly of a suicidal nature, according to the organization.

“As of November 15, more than ten thousand LGBTQ+ people will find themselves without suitable resources at times when psychological support and crisis intervention may be necessary,” laments Interligne.

Insufficient funding

Interligne says that it has taken steps on several occasions with the Government of Quebec to have it increase the budget allocated to it. The organization has also tried to promote its contribution to mental health. According to Interligne, the government would not have given an answer.

“In its Interdepartmental Mental Health Action Plan, the government affirms and reiterates its intention to improve the accessibility of services for the most vulnerable populations. The inaction he is showing in the face of the urgency of our situation demonstrates the opposite,” Judge Pascal Vaillancourt, CEO of Interligne.

For Interligne, the underfunding of which the latter is the object would be partly due to a “labeling error”. The Support Program for Community Organizations (PSOC) places the Interligne organization in the Sexual Orientation and Identity category, which would be detrimental to it when granting grants.

“As the Mental Health category is generously subsidized, this labeling error has the effect of completely concealing the daily work that Interligne does in terms of mental health and, at the same time, penalizes the health sector. organization at the time of granting grants to the mission in this area”, considers Interligne.

Difficult recruitment

With its meager portfolio, the group also says it has difficulty recruiting staff. Providing decent working conditions to its employees as well as keeping them is a real challenge.

“This underfunding makes recruiting and retaining Interligne staff even more difficult than other helplines,” explains the organization.

The vast majority of Interligne employees are made up of people from the LGBTQ+ community. They have training in psychology, psychosocial intervention, as well as in the help relationship inherent in a helpline.

According to Interligne, other helplines, with similar missions and expertise, would receive funding allowing them to offer an overall compensation 70% higher than that of Interligne.

“The situation is critical, the government must act”, alarms the organization.

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