Talk about mental health has been gaining traction in Malaysia recently.

The Malaysian Health Ministry has been advocating for an open discourse on mental health issues, especially among youths. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad has also told Dewan Rakyat that the ministry will be launching a new mental health campaign to be held every October, known as “Let’s Talk Malaysia”.

Picture Credit: Mukhriz Hazim/Malay Mail

There is more good news though, users of 8 Malaysian telecommunication operators will be able to make FREE calls to the Befrienders hotline starting 1st August.

The 8 telcos partnering with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in this altruistic move are:

  • Celcom Axiata Berhad
  • Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd
  • Maxis Berhad
  • Telekom Malaysia Berhad
  • TIME dotcom Berhad
  • U Mobile Sdn Bhd
  • Webe Digital Sdn Bhd
  • YTL Communications Sdn Bhd

According to Malay Mail, MCMC chairman, Al-Ishsal Ishak, believes that this move is timely for those in need, in despair and have suicidal thoughts to get help through the Befrienders helpline.

“Suicidal symptoms are a tragedy in every society, regardless of social, moral and economic aspects.

Among the key steps that need to be taken is to eliminate the stigma in the community against mental illness and suicidal symptoms through assistance such as enabling access to the Befrienders, which is now free for those who need advice, counselling and emotional support.”

Al-Ishsal Ishak, MCMC chairman via Malay Mail.

Befrienders has actually been around for a long time, helping mentally burdened Malaysians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since it was founded in 1970.

Picture Credit: Befrienders Kuching

The organisation aims to benefit society by providing emotional support to anyone who reaches out to them, be it via anonymous calls, e-mail or face to face meetings.

This move is a long awaited but thoroughly appreciated. The Malaysian Mental Healthcare Performance 2016 report indicates that suicide attempts were apparently increasing with mental disorders estimated to be responsible for about 8.6% of total Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs).

The report also states that there was high prevalence of mental disorders, substance abuse and suicidality in Malaysia.

So if you’re feeling suicidal or even out of sorts, please reach out to Befrienders via:
Phone: 03-7956 8145
E-mail: sam@befrienders.org.my
Available 24 hours everyday.

There is always someone willing to help 😊

(Free calls to Befrienders from Aug 1 for users of Celcom, Maxis, Digi, Telekom, and four other telcos)
(Health minister: Malaysians must be able to talk about mental health openly)
(Malaysian Mental Healthcare Performance Technical Report 2016)

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