QLife takes LGBTI counselling nation-wide
A national phone and web-based help network for LGBTI people was launched in Brisbane last week.
Launched in New Farm on September 20, QLife is a national project headed by the National LGBTI Health Alliance in partnership with state-based LGBTI counselling services in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, SA and WA.
QLife’s free counselling services operate seven days a week, 365 days a year between 5.30pm and 10.30pm Australia-wide.
Mental health and referral information will also be available via the web 24 hours a day, seven days a week, meaning QLife can guide people where necessary to professional clinical services.
The launch was attended by state LNP MP Robert Cavallucci, Labor MP Jackie Trad, Brisbane City Councillor Vicki Howard, the Gay & Lesbian Welfare Association’s Rob Collins and Healthy Communities executive director John Mikelsons, as well as LGBTI community leaders and health professionals.
QLife’s clinical director Ross Jacobs said the network was born three months ago as part of the federal Department of Health’s Teleweb initiative.
“They have charged us with rolling out good mental health into communities that also embraces distance technologies,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said the network included the traditional LGBTI phone counselling approach, while extending the popular web chat element across the country.
“QLife is taking what exists in each state, which is GLWA here in Brisbane, and tying them to their partner organisations interstate,” he said.
“If the design turns out as we hope, it means there won’t be calls that go unanswered any more, and that’s always been the criticism of these services.
“We now have a pool of over 200 volunteers Australia wide to make sure these calls are answered, and we have paid professional staff members as the final line of defence. We’re looking to establish ourselves as our community’s Lifeline.”
Jacobs said while QLife did not offer ongoing extended healthcare to callers, it did provide an important conduit to mental health resources in the callers’ communities.
“This is a real vote of confidence in community mental health,” Jacobs said.
IMAGE: HIV/AIDS advocate Dr Wendell Rosevear, QLife’s Ross Jacobs and Healthy Communities’ John Mikelsons at the QLife launch, Friday, Sept 20, 2013. Photo: Be Random
- CATEGORIES: News + Politics