GUELPH – Compass Community Services is adding a new telephone support line to its cadre of services, this one dedicated to members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
The free service will begin on Oct. 4 and will feature the option of either phoning or texting for support.
Local residents who identify as members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are welcome to contact the service for confidential emotional support and/or community referrals.
The lines will be staffed by volunteers, students, and staff members who are either members or allies of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
“People in our communities who identify as LGBTQ+ are at increased risk for mental-health issues,” said executive director Joanne Young Evans in a press release.
“Issues like homophobia, transphobia, bullying, and poverty jeopardize their sense of safety and wellbeing. This added support service offers a free lifeline to these residents who feel isolated, fearful, and insecure about reaching out for support.”
In a phone interview, Young Evans said her organization conducted a needs assessment last summer that indicated a dedicated phone line was both wanted and needed.
“It was just so obvious,” she said. “Some people want to see a face and others just want to talk and vent to a warm, trained ear on the other end.”
Compass also provides in-person support; Young Evans said they were among the first to resume in-person sessions for clients last summer.
The support line will have a soft launch on Sept. 27 at 9am “to work out the kinks” Young Evans said, with the line officially launching on Oct. 4.
It will be staffed from 8am to 10pm seven days a week including holidays. The contact number is 226-669-3760.
“Having free and easy access to help and tools that specifically relate to the unique issue LGBTQ+ people face and providing them through fellow members and allies of their community is a progressive approach to delivering targeted help to this underserved community,” Young Evans said.
“The service is also accessible from anywhere, which means it’s available to everyone in Guelph-Wellington without the need for travel or transportation.”
This new service is an addition to Compass’ already existing confidential, free distress and TeleConnect line services that also operate from 8am to 10pm seven days a week including holidays. Compass took over the distress line from Torchlight in January of 2020.
The general distress line 519-821-3760. The toll-free number is 1-888-821-3760.
Compass Community Services provides a range of individual and group services to children, youth, individuals, couples, families, and seniors and is 2SLGBTQIA+ friendly with safe, accessible storefront locations in Guelph, Fergus, and Mount Forest.
For more information visit www.compasscs.org.