Health Mental health General wellbeing How to support other LGBTQ+ people during the coronavirus crisis The coronavirus pandemic has caused massive disruption to our daily lives. None of us remain unaffected, but vulnerable communities are already being hit particularly hard by the social and economic repercussions. Those who are isolated find themselves even more alone. People without shelter or financial safety nets find themselves without any aid. LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience isolation, homelessness, mental health problems, and an array of other inequalities that make our community more vulnerable during this difficult time. This is why it’s important to help one another wherever we can, while also obeying instructions from government and experts about stopping the spread of coronavirus. With social distancing and isolation measures in place, many of us will find ourselves with an abundance of extra time. Here are some ways you can use that time to help others: Calling older LGBTQ+ people Even before the pandemic, older LGBTQ+ people were more likely to experience social isolation. Now they are at risk, and the likelihood of received all-important human contact is even lower. If you want to help, try signing up to Opening Doors’ telefriending scheme for LGBTQ+ people over 50. You would agree to pair with an older person and call them once a week for half an hour or so. A small effort on your part could mean the world to a vulnerable person who needs to hear a human voice. If you already know older LGBTQ+ people who are at risk of isolation, try to connect with them as often as they feel comfortable with. There’s no need to be intrusive or pushy, but you can at least let them know that you’re there if needed. Covid- 19 LGBTQ+ Mutual Aid LGBTQ+ homelessness charity The Outside Project has set up an online support hub for the community to provide help to those in need, especially those who are homeless or in insecure circumstances. In the group you can provide your details so you can then be connected with a nearby LGBTQ+ person in need of support. The group is also holding online socials via the Zoom app at 12pm and 6pm every day. You don’t need to turn on your webcam or microphone to participate. Similar groups are cropping up outside the capital, such as the Oxford Covid-19 community support group, which is LGBTQ+ run. Contact a charity Not all charities will have official schemes that they’re publicising, but they might still need your help. As of 20/03/2020 no parts of the UK have entered official lockdown, but the official advice is for most people to stay home wherever possible. This doesn’t mean that you can’t help! Charities may be in need of admin support, online advocates and super-sharers online, or remote volunteers. Try checking in with a local LGBTQ+ charity and asking if there’s any way you can help out. If you’d like to help LGBT HERO specifically, then we’re most in need of writers to produce content for our enormous queer audience, now more than ever! Tell us what you’d like to write about at [email protected]. We’re looking for people to write about relationships, sex, gender, sexuality, mental health, general wellbeing and everything in-between. Donate to a crowdsourced aid project As the situation worsens, community organised projects are popping up left right and centre. Usually we’d advise that you restrict your donations to registered charities and established actors in the charity sector, but these are unprecedented times. Try checking sites like GoFundMe for local, or national initiatives that are being organised online to help the most vulnerable people in our community meet their rent, afford food, or get access to vital mental health care. Just be sure to check the authenticity of any project, as far as is possible. In order to support the vital online work LGBT HERO is conducting online, including our fact sheets, the support forums, and other wellbeing work for LGBTQ+ people we have planned in the coming months, you can donate here. Start a conversation on the LGBT HERO Forums Our forums have been a port in a storm for many people, and during this uniquely challenging time, we hope it can help even more. Come on down to the forums and start a thread, or let someone else know that you’ve read theirs. It's a great place where you can anonymously chat, be yourself, and get some support. Keep sharing information As most face-to-face support services close their doors completely or go online, it’s more important that ever that vulnerable members of our community know where to go for support. Here’s where you can make a difference: keep sharing the details of organisations that are still helping however they can. Helplines like Switchboard, Support U, LGBT Foundation, and Mermaids are still open and ready to help callers. Here is a copy of all the support organisations listed on our online support page: Switchboard- 0300 330 0630, 10am-10pm - email [email protected] - Web text chat here. LGBTQ+ helpline run by volunteers. Here to help you with whatever you want to talk about. Nothing is off limits. LGBT Foundation - 0345 3 30 30 30, Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm Helpline that has been running for over 35 years, and is staffed by a team of dedicated staff and volunteer operators. Talk about hate crimes, mental health, gender identity. Whatever you need. Mermaids - 0808 801 0400, Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm Family and individual support for gender diverse and transgender children and young people. LGBT IE - LGBT Helpline (1890 929 539), Gender Identity Family Support Line (01 907 3707), [email protected] Irish LGBT organisation that offers an LGBT helpline, and gender identity helpline, as well as support via instant messenger you can find here. Support U - 0118 321 9111 Confidential support line for LGBT people as well as friends and families. Information offered on coming out, family problems, sexual health, training for your company or provider. THT Direct - 0808 802 1221, 10am-8pm, Monday to Friday Offering advice about HIV and other STIs, PrEP, PEP, and other aspects of sexual health. LGBT Cymru - 0800 840 2069, 7pm-9pm Mondays (other times voicemail with response within 24 hours) Support line for LGBT people as well as their friend, spouses, and families. Galop - 0800 999 5428 Advice and support for LGBTQ+ people who have experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse. Also offers support for those who've had problems with the police or have questions about the criminal justice system. Brighton and Hove Switchboard - 01273 204050, evenings (closed Tuesday and Saturday) Charity for LGBTQ people looking for community, support or information. Mindline Trans+ - 0300 330 5468, (Mon-Fri 8pm-midnight) Confidential emotional, mental health support helpline for people who identify as Transgender, Agender, Gender Fluid, Non-binary.