COVID-19: Health Alliance Programs and Policy Page


After consideration of the current advice that is being provided with regard to coronavirus and ways to reduce transmission, the National LGBTI Health Alliance (the Alliance), the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people (LGBTI) and other sexuality, gender, and bodily diverse people and communities, has decided to:

  1. Cancel all planned and group consultations, Alliance meetings and training.
  2. Move all external stakeholder meetings and events online, to ensure that travel restraints do not interrupt our important or urgent work.
  3. Ensure and support all Alliance staff to work from home.

These changes will take place immediately, and remain in place indefinitely as we monitor the changes in the response daily. These decisions were not taken lightly. However, we recognise that many of our community members who we directly work with are at an elevated risk of COVID-19 due to the burden of chronic diseases, ageing and disability.

Our important work continues across ageing and aged care, disability, mental health and suicide prevention and LGBTI health more broadly.

The pressure on our health system is immense and we must all contribute to reducing infections.

Please see our joint position statement with AFAO here (17 March 2020). 

Program Updates

QLife:

Please be aware that there may be increased delays in accessing these services in the current environment. We will keep you updated here, and across our social media. We encourage all community members to reach out to each over phone and social media where possible.

  • We are currently reviewing and re-orientating the service with our steering and operational committees, to ensure the most reliable access possible under the constraints of COVID-19.
  • Webchat remains available between 3pm – Midnight daily.
  • The QLife telephone service is currently available between 6pm – 10pm daily. This is a temporary measure while planned updates to our systems and infrastructure are completed to support our regular service at greater capacity. 
  • Our update 7 April 2020:
  • We have been receiving a great deal of positive feedback regarding the fact that we are still operating during this time:

 ‘I am so pleased that you answered, I have been worried that QLife would not be available for me to call, I really need to talk at the moment’

  • We are receiving a large number of contacts from community members who are living with HIV and concerned about access to medication. We are working closely with AFAO with weekly meetings, to ensure that we are giving people the correct information around this issue.
  • QLife volunteers are no longer taking phone calls or webchats, therefore we are working with each partner site in developing a localised plan to keep volunteers engaged during this time.

Employable Q: Our LGBTI Disability Employment Project

The Employable Q co-design team has reviewed and reoriented the program to ensure that the project remains on track and achieves all deliverables. 

  • The Employable Q co-design team meetings have been moved online and will be starting again in early April. This means the co-design team will now have more opportunities to consult on the Toolkit content than previously planned.
  • Consultations on the tool kit with Alliance member organisations will continue via on line meetings and surveys.
  • Virtual activities to keep the Employable Q co-design team connected are also occurring, this includes a virtual dinner!
  • It is important to acknowledge that people from the LGBTI community with disability may be particularly impacted by COVID-19. We encourage everyone to think about those in our immediate networks that may require additional support at this challenging time. 
  • Our Update 7 April 2020:
  • The EmployableQ Co-design team have completed the first round of Zoom workshops focused on developing the EmployableQ Toolkit. Over the coming weeks the Project team will continue to work with the Co-design team to refine and add to the growing list of resources for LGBTI organisations.

Silver Rainbow:  

The current COVID 19 threat means that we cannot bring groups of people together, particularly older or more vulnerable people.

We have changed our consultation process for the Royal Commission into Aged Care to ensure it is as robust as possible, without exposing our communities to risk.

  • Working with our partners and members to continue our work on the Royal Commission digitally & by phone. Additionally we are supplying funding to them for this work & to support them during a difficult time.
  • Sharing Department Health information via social media – ensure our followers are getting the correct information.
  • Looking at different ways to continue to deliver the System Navigator Trials and work with other LGBTI trial sites to coordinate this effort.

MindOut:

Continues its vital suicide prevention work. We are acutely concerned about the mental health and well being of our communities and the need for the suicide prevention sector to be able to work with all of our communities.  Network MindOUT

  • MindOut will be continuing to support the Mental Health and Suicide prevention sector to recognise and respond to the needs of LGBTI people and communities through regular communications and through our partnerships. Sign up to the newsletter here where all resources and information is shared.
  • Monthly webinars will continue to be streamed, they will  also be recorded and available for viewing on our YouTube Channel shortly. 
  • MindOut is undergoing a review and reorientation so that that we can continue to build capacity of the workforce through webinar forums and online training opportunities.
  • Our update 7 April 2020:
  • MindOut has participated in partner and sector meetings to agree on key messaging and ensure the sector can properly support media and news reporting to ensure harm is reduced wherever possible. 
  • To ensure vulnerable people and communities are best supported by mental health efforts responding to COVID-19, we are now offering our online module FREE for Primary Health Networks. Contact MindOut to enroll in the Introductory lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LGBTI) mental health & suicide prevention training e-module.

Training and Workforce Development:

We recognise that there will be necessarily significant disruptions to the delivery of the Silver Rainbow face to face training packages among other elements. However, we are confident achieving our outcomes through finding simple, innovative and adaptable ways of working, as we continue to deliver this essential service.

  • Silver Rainbow continues work with partners to assess the impact of CoVID-19 on each organisations capacity to deliver the much need training to the aged care sector in accessible ways.  
  • On line training modules remain available and we will shortly have a link for you here.
  • Consultations regarding the evaluation of Silver Rainbow will continue on line and by teleconference.
  • New training module development continues as planned with focus testing now taking place on line and via mechanisms with partner organisations.
  • The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety consultations will continue with our partners.

Office Updates:

The corporate administration team has been settling all staff members into a remote working model, including:

  • Resourcing the team with the equipment and telecommunications needed to continue planned meetings and collaborations.
  • Supporting the team with daily all staff check-ins through Zoom, and regular contact through Microsoft Teams software, as well as encouraging use of the Employee Assistance Program. 
  • Developing new work practices which aim to keep us connected and productive throughout the evolving environment, such as dedicated online social time, staff contact directories and topic threads for sharing information.
  • Our update 7 April 2020:
  • We released and reviewed the results of a brief internal staff survey, to help inform improvements to our remote working model.
  • We continue to refine our work and meeting practices so we can maintain a productive and well-connected staff team, with a balance of workplace social connection while we collectively adjust to working out of the office and through online meeting tools.
  • The executive team briefed the Board’s Finance and Risk Committee, to discuss the government financial support packages, and the re-orienting and continued delivery of our funded programs.

 We’ll continue to update this page.

We thank you for your patience as we implement these changes. We recognise that further amendments to how we all approach our work are likely to continue in the coming days and weeks.

Please see our referral pages for COVID-19:

Up to date information on coronavirus is available here from the Commonwealth Department of Health.

For information on novel coronavirus use the Department of Health Coronavirus Line, 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 1800 020 080. 

If you are experiencing distress and would like to talk with a peer please use QLife webchat here.

LGBTI Health Alliance