The frontline organization puts pressure on the Quebec government.

Montreal, September 13, 2022 – Interligne, a leading provider of support and information for people concerned with sexual diversity and gender plurality, formerly known as Gai Écoute, is saddened to announce the imminent closure of its nightly support and information service. As of November 15th, more than 10,000 LGBTQ+ people will be without an appropriate resource in moments when psychological support and crisis intervention may be needed.

Interligne had undertaken a series of actions with the Quebec government in order to highlight its contribution in the field of mental health, but received no response from the government. « In its Interdepartmental Action Plan on Mental Health, the government affirms and reiterates its intention to improve access to services for the most vulnerable populations. Its inaction in the face of the urgency of our situation demonstrates the opposite » says Pascal Vaillancourt, Executive Director of Interligne.

In recent years, Interligne has seen a marked increase in calls for help related to situations of psychological distress and violence, and specifically in calls of suicidal nature, which require crisis intervention and in-depth knowledge of realities and issues specific to the LGBTQ+ communities. On average, nearly 35,000 LGBTQ+ people use Interligne’s listening services each year. Of these, one-third call at night and they often express an even more urgent distress. Yet, Interligne’s night service has never been funded by the Quebec government, despite successive requests for support.

The underfunding continues

The government’s inaction is not new. In fact, financial support for community action was introduced in the 1970s, and 52 years later, funding for Interligne’s mission is still clearly insufficient to meet its needs. To date, the Programme de soutien aux organismes communautaires (PSOC) places Interligne under the category of « Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. » Since the « Mental Health » category is generously funded, this mislabeling completely obscures the day-to-day mental health work that Interligne does and, in the process, penalizes the organization when it comes to mission grants in this field.

In addition, this chronic underfunding makes the recruitment and retention of Interligne’s staff more challenging than other crisis lines. This situation hinders the organization from offering decent working conditions to its staff, who are mostly LGBTQ+ people with an expertise in psychology, psychosocial intervention and counselling inherent to a crisis line. Interligne’s difficulties in providing decent working conditions is due to the fact that, for a similar mission and expertise, other crisis lines receive funding that allows them to offer a total remuneration that is about 70% higher than what Interligne can offer.

The situation is critical. The government must act.

About Interligne

Interligne is a front-line organization that, through its listening, intervention and awareness services, contributes to the well-being of people concerned with sexual diversity and gender plurality.

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