Choices toll-free psychological helpline for LGBTQI+ asylum seekers and status holders is free and puts you in touch with trained volunteers who can provide immediate support in your language, and connect you with needed help.
The toll-free helpline is available every day Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All volunteers speak multiple languages so we can understand your needs. Every day there is someone who speaks English or Dutch and another language such as Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Ukrainian or Russian.
We make sure someone is always available to talk to you. If no Choices volunteer is unavailable, callers are transferred to COC LGBTQ+ Switchboard. COC Switchboard provides information and support to the LGBT community in the Netherlands. COC Switchboard volunteers are not trained to offer counseling. They can, however, talk to you, suggest various helpful services and help you make an appointment with Choices.
Our free app helps you get in touch anonymously with:
Free psychological helpline
Appropriate addiction services
Testing and treatment sites for STD/HIV/HCV
STD/HIV self-test kits
Access to PrEP
Mental health services
Choices Support Center thanks our Helpline donors and partners:
Calling the free psychological helpline is easy. First, we ask you to download the Choices for treatment testing and wellbeing app. You can do this by scanning the QR code we have below or clicking on the link. We have included the free helpline in our app to help everyone get in touch with a network of ´queer friendly´ services in the Netherlands. The Choices app is an online care network and available in English, Dutch and Arabic.
Once you open the Choices app, at the bottom of the home page you will see the button to call the helpline. When you press the button, the page appears with information about the helpline, including a link to our website where you can see our weekly schedule of volunteers with whom you will be connected. The schedule tells you which languages are available each day and at what time, morning or afternoon.
Choices Support Center volunteers are all trained to answer a variety of calls. Our comprehensive one-day training includes counseling skills, emotional listening, conflict resolution, role-playing, asylum procedures, and additional training from the 113 organization on how to deal with possible suicide and severe psychological situations. Choices volunteers also receive clinical supervision and administrative support.
Upon written request, we are happy to share our training program and procedures. Choices' free psychological helpline operates according to helpline quality standards developed by Child Helpline International, Red Cross Crisis Call Centers and Red Cross Psychological First Aid Field Worker guidelines.
My name is Behnam. I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. I have a master's degree in educational technology. I recently moved to the Netherlands to live in a peaceful and supportive community for the rest of my life. As a member of the Choices family and as a helpline volunteer, I am fully aware of the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community and the difficulties they face, such as punishment, discrimination, torture, imprisonment, and in some countries even the death penalty. The Helpline provides you with emotional support to overcome difficult situations, guidance in navigating mental health care, and connecting with Choices psychologists when needed. I also provide information about our programs and services. Call me on Mondays from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM to confidentially share your feelings, emotions, and concerns, in English or Farsi. EN/FA.
My name is Jason. I was born in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. I now live in Heerhugowaard. As an asylum seeker, in order to reach my goal, I experienced many difficult situations. This has inspired and motivated me to help others who are in the same position as me. If I can get through all those difficult situations, then anyone can! I keep abreast of current events and world news and want to stand up for others who do not have the strength to do so themselves. I am driven to see others succeed, to become who they were meant to become. I support LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and want to fight, the best fight ever, to help others feel respected and accepted in our new country. I answer the helpline on Monday afternoons from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Call me. AND/HI.
My name is Peter Shoukry, I was born in Cairo, Egypt where I earned a bachelor's degree in Applied Arts. I am gay and proud, I decided to move to the Netherlands to seek protection. Being gay and living in Egypt with a Coptic Christian religious family in a homophobic society was extremely stressful, unsafe and insecure. I fought to move on and be myself. Now I volunteer at Choices where I can help people like me fight for a better life. You are the one who draws the path in your own life. At Choices, we support you to make more informed choices. Call me on Tuesday mornings 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. I speak Arabic or English. AR/EN.
My name is Gaukhar and I am from Kazakhstan. I studied psychology at the University of Padova in Italy. I have always wanted to contribute to making psychological help more accessible. That's why I volunteer at Choices because the helpline offers an easy opportunity to talk to someone who is a psychologist. I have experience in Counseling Psychology and I speak both English and Russian. If you feel like talking about something that is bothering you, or if you have inner conflicts, such as coping with stress, being alone in the AZC, problems with drug abuse, or just looking for a non-judgmental listener, don't hesitate and call me on Tuesday afternoons from 1:00 - 5:00 pm. (EN/RU).
My name is Sam and I am Palestinian. I was born and raised in Dubai, where I went to school and obtained a bachelor's degree in nursing. I worked in mental health/psychiatry for 10 years. Living in Dubai, I spent most of my life "in the closet," but I decided it was time to get out. That's why I came to the Netherlands, where I can really be who I want to be and not be judged by anyone. Here in the Netherlands, I can be an active member of Choices and help others become who they want to be. I am fluent in English and Arabic. I am available on the helpline every Wednesday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. (AR/EN).
Hello, my name is Bouke. I am currently a student of Applied Psychology at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. I have spent much of my life struggling about my own identity, constantly wearing masks to make myself look different than who I really was. This personal struggle unfortunately led me to a devastating drug addiction. However, like the tide that eventually changes, there came a turning point in my life. Today, I am proud of who I am, free from the shadows of my past. At Choices, I offer a listening ear, a voice of understanding, and guidance for those navigating the same storms I once experienced. Whether you're struggling with yourself, battling substance abuse, or just need someone to listen without judgment, I'm here for you. Together we can brave the waves of life and reach a safer harbor. Call me (EN/NL)
My name is Alma. I am half Spanish, half German and will be completing my Bachelor's degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Amsterdam in 2021. I studied psychology because I truly believe in the power of helping others discover their inner strength and potential. Last year I worked at a child support service in Berlin, where my main role was to offer advice and guidance, using empathy and compassion to help them overcome challenges during their stay in the institution. I would like to expand my support, which is why I volunteer at Choices. I am committed to LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and hope to make an impact by making sure they receive the respect and acceptance they deserve. I hope I can help you find comfort, safety and a sense of belonging. Call me on Thursdays from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. (EN/DE/ESP).
My name is Alina and I was born in Kazakhstan. I graduated in psychology from the University of Amsterdam, with a specialization in clinical and social psychology. I also volunteered to provide psychological support to victims of the war in Ukraine. I am immensely aware of the unique struggle of the Russian-speaking LGBTQIA+ community at the intersection of political, religious and social persecution. As a Choices Helpline volunteer, I strive to provide the best support I can. Feel free to call me on Wednesdays from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. if you need help or just someone to listen to you. (EN/RU).
I am Sabina (she/he/she/they), and I recently became a volunteer at Choices to support the helpline. My personal journey as a refugee and my years of working experience with refugees have made me realize the importance of having access to mental support, especially in challenging life circumstances. For LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers, life inside the AZC can be particularly tough. Even after fleeing violence in their country of origin to a safe country, it does not always offer them a safer place within the AZC. As someone with a passion for human rights, I hope to be able to offer help to individuals going through difficult times in AZCs and make a positive impact. Call me on Fridays from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. (EN/RU/NL).
My name is Zeynep and I am from Turkey. I moved to the Netherlands to study Clinical Psychology. I have experience conducting structured counseling sessions with people from migrant backgrounds. I am interested in compassion as a way to relieve pain. I volunteer at Choices because I want to be there for the queer community while using my skills. I have experience in the Dutch mental health system and can help you find your way through the system to get the help you need. I am available every Friday afternoon from 13:00 - 17:00 in the following languages: Turkish, Dutch and English. (TR/NL/EN)
Choices welcomes anyone who would like to volunteer with us. We kindly ask you to fill out an application form on our website. Upon receipt of your application, we will see if you will be invited for an interview. Because answering helpline calls requires specific skills, not everyone who applies will be considered.
The application process is a two-step process. All potential volunteers are first interviewed by the director. After the first stage is completed, the selected person is interviewed and screened by our psychologist to ensure that this person is capable of answering the helpline. We want to make sure that all our volunteers are psychologically prepared and emotionally strong enough to talk to callers who are under great emotional stress and struggling with trauma, isolation and PTSD