Crisis line training to better support LGBTI people
Lifeline and the National LGBTI Health Alliance will be working in partnership to develop an e-training program to give its Crisis Supporters a stronger knowledge and understanding of issues faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people. The training program will focus on practical skills and knowledge, and will complement the work of QLife, the national LGBTI Phone and Web specialist support service.
Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel said that as the highest rates of suicidality of any group in Australia are within LGBTI populations, it’s important for the national charity to look at ways to upskill its more than 4000 volunteers across Australia.
“There are more than 2500 deaths by suicide each year – more than double the road toll – and we know that LGBTI people are greatly overrepresented in these tragic statistics,” Mr Shmigel said.
“As such, to combat the national suicide emergency currently faced by Australia, we need to focus on bringing connection and hope to those experiencing distress, and recognise the effects of isolation and discrimination that can specifically be experienced by LGBTI people.
“While our Crisis Supporters understand how issues of social stigma and exclusion can significantly affect a person’s wellbeing, we want them to be able to most effectively be able to support LGBTI people specifically.
“Furthermore, with frequent media and political debate around LGBTI issues having the potential to fuel an individual’s sense of isolation, the development of this program is as pertinent as ever.”
Executive Director of the National LGBTI Health Alliance, Rebecca Reynolds, welcomed the initiative of Lifeline in increasing the skills and knowledge of their volunteers in this area of work, saying “Lifeline remains an integral part of the suicide prevention landscape in Australia and we welcome the commitment to ongoing professional development of its volunteers.
“QLife, as a peer-based service, continues to find ways to support LGBTI people across the country, and forming strong service delivery partnerships is one of these strategies,” Ms Reynolds said.
Lifeline has received more than a million contacts for help to its 13 11 14 and online Crisis Support Chat service over the past year and, of these, more than 40 per cent have related to relationship and family issues and an individual’s understanding of ‘self’, with some of these about sexuality or gender identity.
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.
For support and referral from QLife, contact 1800 184 527 or via www.qlife.org.au.