(Montreal) Due to a lack of recurring funding, Interligne’s – formerly Gai Listening – listening service will no longer be offered at night effective March 31. To make him aware of the importance of the resource, the organization is launching an advertising campaign on Wednesday, asking its users and allies to leave messages on Premier François Legault’s voicemail “to remind him that the night life saves”.
Posted at 6:53 am
Marie-Eve Martel and Elo Gauthier Lamothe The Canadian Press
Interligne announced last fall that without an increase in its government funding, which is experiencing a historic delay, it would no longer be able to respond to its customers’ late-night emergency calls. A recurring sum of $300,000 would be required to ensure service survival between midnight and 8am.
“The goal is to save the night shift and enable our organization to provide decent working conditions. Our wages are barely above the minimum wage, which will soon increase by May at the latest,” says Pascal Vaillancourt, General Manager of Interligne.
Otherwise available 24 hours a day, Interligne’s bugging and referral hotline receives an average of 35,000 calls a year; About a third of the number is conducted at night, the organization says.
A service that he considers vital and indispensable, especially since calls are “more intense” in the middle of the night, according to Mr Vaillancourt.
“These are sometimes suicidal 911 calls from people suffering from anxiety and isolation,” explains the general manager. At night it’s also a more intimate moment, we have people taking advantage of the fact that others are sleeping to call us. »
This requirement is all the more important as Interligne’s specialized line is the only one of its kind in Quebec and Canada, a resource we should be proud of and protect at all costs, believes Mr. Vaillancourt.
“Our employees are specially trained for the needs of the LGBTQ community,” the managing director continues. Of course, there are other lines of crisis as well, but given that they are generally supportive of the straight and cissexual population, there is an opportunity to offer support when they commit microaggressions, such as by misgendering someone. »
In addition, the LGBTQ+ clientele is more vulnerable than others; In particular, they are more prone to mental health problems, having suicidal thoughts, developing a drug addiction problem or becoming homeless, stresses Mr Vaillancourt.
“The reason for this predominance is simple: even as mentalities have evolved, members of the community still experience stress at the acceptance of their identities or the prospect of revealing them; they are victims of intimidation or fear of violence,” the director enumerates.
call to leadership
The voice mail strategy, complemented by a billboard campaign, among other things, is a reminder of the organization’s unsuccessful efforts to adapt its funding to current needs.
“We were very happy to take up the concept of forwarding calls as ours to the government went unanswered,” explains Mr Vaillancourt. What we want is for the Prime Minister to recognize the importance of a service that is truly adapted to LGBTQ+ communities. So we invite people to wake up Mr. Legault.
“The government has already indicated that our resource is not a mental health service, which is what we do,” he continues. We want our government to show leadership. »