What support has been offered to help the LGBT Helpline Scotland since March 2020;
How has the service adapted to meet the needs of LGBT people in Scotland during the pandemic;
What are the call/contact volumes of the service compared to the same period in 2019; And, What are the key themes emerging since March 2020 from this publicly-funded helpline.
Through the Immediate Priorities Fund, the Scottish Government has provided funding to LGBT Health and Wellbeing for the National LGBT Helpline, to allow for an additional 2 days a week and to offer more tailored individual support for particularly isolated members of the community.
The service expanded from 2 to 4 days per week: Thu (1-6pm) opening from 19 March and Sun (1- 6pm) from 19 April 2020.
According to information provided to us by the organisation, they have implemented a new VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system, introduced in April 2020 to enable multiple calls to be answered remotely and a new online call record database to enable call data to be entered remotely by staff and volunteers and enable better and quicker analysis of call data.
The service saw 189 engagements in May ranging from phone calls, email and LiveChat. This is an increase of 74% on the monthly average over 2019/20.
The LGBT Helpline continues to primarily support older callers, with 4 in 6 callers aged 50 or over (1 in 6 engagements under 25; 1 in 6 26-49).
The calls the helpline receives cover a wide range of topics, with people’s mental health being one of the top issues raised. The service is also seeing more callers reporting suicidal thoughts, as well as discussion about the impact lockdown has had on mental health difficulties, with most calls being emotional support calls.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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