LGBT YouthLine is closing the HelpLine from November 6-13 to give staff and volunteers a much-needed break…
By Jumol Royes
A confidential HelpLine for LGBTQ2+ youth is temporarily closing.
LGBT YouthLine will hit pause on HelpLine service for one week from Sunday, November 6 to Sunday, November 13, to give the team a much-needed break from frontline work.
Staffed by volunteer LGBTQ2+ youth – trained peer supporters who rely on their lived experiences to help others – the HelpLine serves LGBTQ2+ youth 29 and under across Ontario through phone, text and chat support. The team has been working tirelessly for over the past two years while many programs and services for LGBTQ2+ youth were suspended, or shutdown indefinitely due to the pandemic.
A decision was made to close the HelpLine for one week so staff and volunteers can rest, reconnect, and return to their work feeling recharged and refocused.
“We began planning our break over the summer and selected November, knowing that the back-to-school period can be particularly stressful for many young people and wanting to make sure folks had the space to settle in before we took a short pause,” says peer support manager, Minna Frederick.
Over 4,000 youth are supported by LGBT YouthLine each year, with relationships with family, coming out, mental health and isolation, navigating healthcare, school and work and questioning sexuality and gender among the most talked about topics in 2020-2021.
While HelpLine service is closed, all other LGBT YouthLine programs and staff will continue to work as usual. Youth who require support during the closure are being encouraged to reach out to resources like Kids Help Phone (call 1-800-668-6868, text 686868 or visit kidshelpphone.ca), Trans Lifeline (call 1-877-330-6366 or visit translifeline.org) and Youthspace (text 778-783-0177 or visit youthspace.ca).
The HelpLine will resume service on Monday, November 14, with regular hours of operation: 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday only for phone support (call 1-800-268-9688) and 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday for text (text 647-694-4275) and chat (visit youthline.ca and click the Live Chat button at the top of the page).
“We know that when we are rested, we’re able to show up more deeply for our community,” adds Frederick.
JUMOL ROYES is IN Magazine’s director of communications and community engagement, a GTA-based storyteller and glass-half-full kinda guy. He writes about compassion, community, identity and belonging. His guilty pleasure is watching the Real Housewives. Follow him on Instagram @jumolroyes.