As part of DCMS Community Match Challenge, Global’s Make Some Noise has provided a £20,000 grant to MindOut for their virtual mental health support service for the LGBTQ+ community.
When the coronavirus pandemic began, MindOut moved quickly to offer their counselling services online and over the phone. The funding has allowed the Brighton based charity to train more volunteers and extend their online support service.
In this guest blog, MindOut’s CEO, Helen Jones explains how this temporary increase in hours and knowledge-base is helping to meet the increased demand and complexities seen by the charity through the pandemic.
By MindOut’s CEO, Helen Jones
The grant means that we can continue to offer advocacy, advice and information and online support, provided by and for LGBTQ people who experience mental health issues.
The funding has also helped us to provide training and support for our staff and volunteer teams – they have worked incredibly hard since the COVID pandemic started, supporting users of our services through some of the most difficult and distressing times of their lives.
Malcolm was in crisis, he had suffered with anxiety, alcohol dependence and suicidal distress for all of his adult life.
He was homeless, terrified that a pending court summons would result in a custodial sentence and hearing intrusive, destructive voices when he came to MindOut for support. He had no family and no friends.
Our advocacy work was able to help him access mental health services, negotiate probation conditions and address his anti-social behaviour. We helped Malcolm get a diagnosis of ADHD and access to regular psychiatric support and substance misuse services. He has stopped drinking since.
We kept in weekly contact during the pandemic and he credits this support to helping him stay safe and “not kill myself”. The support has helped to prevent imprisonment and to work appropriately with the probation service.
“You are a legend, I would be dead if it wasn’t for you and I would be in prison. You are the only support I have that helps me.”
How our online support service helps
One Thursday evening a volunteer on the online support service responded to a contact who was feeling suicidal. The caller was living in a shared house with other tenants who were bullying them – some of the bullying was transphobic.
The volunteer helped the caller make a plan to keep themselves safe that evening and the following day. During the call, the volunteer shared some links on how to cope with harassment. They also talked about the longer term, what other support might be available.
At the end of the conversation, the caller felt calmer. They had made a plan to get support from some close friends, and agreed to check in again the following day.