Free calls to Befrienders from Aug 1

24 Jul 2019 / 20:17 H.

PETALING JAYA: All calls to Befrienders helpline will be free beginning Aug 1.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia in a statement said that the commission (MCMC) has joined forces with eight telecommunication operators, Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Maxis Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, TIME dotcom Bhd, U Mobile Sdn Bhd, Webe Digital Sdn Bhd and YTL Communications Sdn Bhd to waive the call charges of their customers to the helpline.

“Echoing Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo’s recent call that no one should be excluded in the country’s journey towards a digital shift, the announcement made is timely for those in need, distress, despair and having suicidal thoughts to seek assistance via the Befrienders helpline.”

According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2017, which was released last year, one out of five adolescents are depressed, two out of five are anxious while 11.2% have suicidal ideation and 10.1% had attempted suicide.

MCMC chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak said that suicidal symptoms can be prevented and eradicated with collective efforts by various stakeholders, including the Government and industry players.

“Suicidal symptoms are a tragedy in every society, regardless of social, moral and economic aspects.” he said, adding that 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 helplines, counselling and emotional support.

“As we advance through digitalisation, a collaborative effort that focuses on ways to leverage social media and latest technology to identify those most at risk, can be explored,” said Al-Ishsal.

Befrienders is a non-profit organisation that provides emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to the distressed and the suicidal.

Anonymous callers can express their problems and dilemmas to trained volunteers at Befrienders. All conversations are confidential.

Befrienders can be contacted at 03-79568145/8144 or email: sam@befrienders.org.my, for assistance on more details.

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