Helpline Curriculum

At SQSH, we value transparency and accountability. Our volunteers are highly trained to provide peer support, but are not licensed mental health professionals. Here is an outline of the 55-hour training that our volunteers undergo before taking calls:

17 hours: Basic Peer Counseling Skills

Unit 1: Active Listening

Skills: Paraphrasing & Summarizing, Mirroring Language & Tone, Open-ended Questions, “I” Statements, Non-verbals & Pauses

Unit 2: Call Structure

Skills: Check-ins, Being Caller-led, Call Flow, Building Rapport

Unit 3: Empowerment Skills

Skills: Validating, Normalizing, Cheerleading, Mythbusting

Unit 4: Feelings-oriented Calls

Skills: Exploring Feelings

Unit 5: Solution-Oriented Calls

Skills: Grounding Exercises, Safety Planning, Giving Resources, Warm Hand-offs

14 hours: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)

ASIST prepares our volunteers to have conversations about suicide thoughts as part of the peer support they provide.

13 hours: Guest Speakers & Trainers

2 hours: LGBTQIA+ Cultural Competency, by Trans Education Service, LLC

3 hours: Overdose Education & Naloxone Distribution, by MO-HOPE Project

4 hours: Interrupting Racism, by NCCJ St. Louis

1 hour: Non-Binary 201, by Metro Trans Umbrella Group

1 hour: LGBTQIA-Affirming Housing Options, by Trans Queer Flat

2 hours: Survivor Support & Safety Planning, by Safe Connections

11 hours: Role-plays

Roleplays are designed for Helpline Volunteers to practice their peer counseling skills in realistic call scenarios, designed by our Helpline Trainers and written by our Roleplay Writers.

Our Helpline

Toll Free | 844-785-SQSH (7774) Local | 314-380-SQSH (7774)

Our Hours

Friday - Monday 1 PM-7 PM

Support Us


About Us

We connect the LGBTQIA+ community in Greater St. Louis with peer-support services, including a volunteer-run phone helpline, public resource manual, and resources for the queer+ community and their allies.