ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline (SQSH [pronounced squish]) has launched its phone lines for members of the LGBTQIA+ community in the greater St. Louis area.

 

This peer support helpline is the only one of its kind in the region and will be staffed by volunteers who have undergone over 55 hours of training in emotional support and resource referrals.

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“There are lots of great organizations that serve our community,” said Luka Cai, a co-founder of SQSH. “But SQSH works in tandem with them to fill an existing gap for peer support. It can be hard to navigate resources and know which providers are queer-affirming, but connecting with peers with similar lived experiences can be empowering and comforting.” 

 

Organizing and setting up SQSH has been underway since December 2018. Initial funding for training and organizing came from a grant Cai was awarded through Washington University. SQSH has received other financial support from the St. Louis Violence Prevention Commission, a drag benefit show (“C U Next Tuesday”), and a Facebook Fundraiser. The helpline (314-380-7774 / 844-785-7774) will run Fridays through Sundays, 1p.m. - 5 p.m., and help members of the LGBTQIA+ community to navigate the unique challenges they face.

 

“The LGBTQIA+ community is diverse and resilient,” said Riott, a co-founder of SQSH. “But we find many institutions and organizations inaccessible at best, and discriminatory at worst. Meeting basic needs like healthcare, housing, and employment can be hard. We want to make SQSH a resource our community can rely on in times of need - whether that’s preparing for a difficult conversation with friends and family, or finding a safe place to get an affirming haircut.” 

 

SQSH will continue to recruit and train volunteers to staff the helpline into the fall and winter. Other volunteer positions are available for those who would prefer other means of contributing and can be found at https://www.thesqsh.org/support-our-work/sqsh-project-team. SQSH’s launch is an exciting new chapter for the queer community in St. Louis.

 

The St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline is a free, confidential, identity-affirming, and volunteer-run peer support helpline service in the St. Louis region with a mission to serve and strengthen the St. Louis LGBTQIA+ community. SQSH provides an empathetic listening ear, connects callers safely and reliably to LGBTQIA-affirming resources, and increases the visibility of LGBTQIA+ concerns, needs, and resources in the St. Louis region. For more information, visit www.thesqsh.org.

 

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