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Covid-19 Mental Health Crisis: Health Ministry Records Over 37,000 Calls

Covid-19 Mental Health Crisis: Health Ministry Records Over 37,000 Calls

The Covid-19 pandemic has been shown to affect mental health in direct and indirect ways.

Tasneem Nazari

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The Covid-19 pandemic has been found to have direct and indirect effects on our mental health. Even those who never catch the deadly virus have shown increased symptoms of anxiety and depression due to the effects of the pandemic.

In Malaysia, the mental health effects of Covid-19 can be seen through the number of calls made to national and state helplines set up by the Health Ministry at the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC).

In a written parliamentary reply yesterday, the Health Ministry revealed that from the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in Malaysia until 11 November 2020, these helplines received as many as 37,009 calls.

Most of the calls received, approximately 53.3%, were from individuals seeking psychological and emotional support (19,729 calls).

Sourced from Health Ministry’s parliamentary reply. (Credit: TRP)

Out of the total calls seeking mental health services, half of them (55.3%) were aged between 20 and 39 years old, while those aged between 40 and 59 years old made up 30.8% of the calls.

Besides that, individuals also called the helplines for information on Covid-19 (12.6%), to voice their need for donations or assistance (4.98%), over domestic issues (4.6%), and domestic violence (2.7%).

Out of the total number of callers, a majority happened to be female callers (52.1%), while only 47.9% were male.

Sourced from Health Ministry’s parliamentary reply. (Credit: TRP)

The Health Ministry also noted that female callers mainly called in to talk about issues relating to their emotions, such as the need for counselling and psychological support, as well as on issues involving the household and domestic violence.

On the other hand, male callers mostly discussed problems relating to their employers, to obtain information on Covid-19, and to seek aid.

For the operation of such call services, those on duty who handle it are composed of psychology counselling officers and medical experts trained in the mental health field.

Ministry of Health Malaysia

The Health Ministry stated that the helplines were operated by those familiar with psychology, counselling, and mental health. It also involved the collaboration of several government agencies and non-governmental organisations such as MERCY Malaysia.


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