Coming soon: Remote. Accessible. Free. Peer-Run.
Our team is working on a big new project! We are building open-source peer support software that will allow any community group to introduce remote, confidential and anonymous emotional support — hotlines, text lines and/or chat spaces — free of charge and customizable for each community’s needs.
Help us make this program a reality! Every donation to PeerPride goes directly to bring this software closer to launch.
About the project
With over a decade of combined experience in building and running peer support services including phone hotlines, the PeerPride team has learned what it takes to build out a safe and reliable service. We’ve found five critical components: Trust, confidentiality, accessibility, ease of use and cost. That’s why we’re building out a major project: a remote, confidential hotline system that enables people around the world to seek and give support to others.
Peer support starts with trust
You wouldn’t go to someone you couldn’t trust or who didn’t understand your life experience to share what’s bothering you, or to get help with deeply personal topics. Similarly, PeerPride’s vision of peer support relies on the idea of celebrating lived experience. Our “lived experience” is, first and foremost, our lived experience as marginalized people.
In any given community there are a wide range of lived experiences: not all LGBTQ people have the same experiences in life. Race, gender, geography, poverty and a host of other factors create a diverse set of perspectives. A white transmasculine person in California may not be able to provide the best peer support to a Black trans woman in the US South, and vice versa. The hotline software allows users and operators to define who they’re comfortable talking with – and who they’re not.
Confidentiality is critical
Traditional support lines operating under most existing models do not provide confidentiality or anonymity to callers. Sometimes they ask your name or pronouns straight away, or the operators have access to your phone number. Others will call emergency services without consent from the caller.
PeerPride’s hotline provides key confidentiality and anonymity to those who use it on both sides. Callers and operators never see each other’s phone numbers. Organizations can control how long information like call records or phone numbers are saved for, and advanced permission models define who exactly can look up a phone number, for example.
If it’s not accessible to everyone, it doesn’t work
Accessibility is as important in digital spaces as it is in the physical world. Some people aren’t able to – or are uncomfortable with – talking on the phone and prefer text. Others only have access to WiFi and not phone/text service and need an online chat interface. PeerPride’s hotline service will provide voice, text and online chat interfaces.
Make it easy to use
PeerPride’s hotline is also designed to be both flexible and easy to use for administrators and operators alike. Permission sets and user-tested design let administrators define what features are available to groups of operators, who can focus on the important work of providing support to their community.
Cost shouldn’t be a blocker
Existing commercial hotline software is expensive, or relies on multi-year contracts. Add-on services like texting only increase the cost of the service, making it infeasible for many small organizations.
While some base costs will be required to use hosting and phone services, PeerPride’s hotline will be free software for anyone with a bit of technical knowledge to set up. It will be open source, accepting community contributions to the code. And we’re building it with cost in mind, being sure it runs with a minimal set of external services – while being extensible at the same time.