PETALING JAYA: A total of 122,328 people have called the health ministry’s mental health and psychological support services (MHPSS) helpline in the past six months, mostly due to social issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 109,806 people, or 89.4% of callers, were going through psychological effects from various social problems, including loss of jobs or income.
Noor Hisham said others had lost their breadwinners, gone through domestic problems like arguments, separation or divorce, and some even suffered abuse, either physical or emotional.
The 12,522 other callers reached out to the helpline for information on Covid-19, general complaints and family issues, among others.
“Throughout this pandemic, especially during a movement control order (MCO), the community is affected emotionally and mentally. This stress isn’t just felt by frontliners but also by other individuals in the community.
“The psychosocial support helpline created in March 2020 found that most callers needed emotional support and counselling,” Noor Hisham said in a statement today.
He gave the public some advice to reduce the psychological impacts of the pandemic and lockdown, counselling people to stay in constant communication with friends or family, even if virtually.
He also advised people to identify the source of their concerns and to avoid stigmatising those who have been infected by Covid-19.
“Quickly seek counselling services if needed, because emotional and mental support is very important. And be aware of any change in other individuals who need support.
“Remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and that early-stage prevention is very helpful,” he said.
In thanking various parties for helping the community and even frontliners on the field, Noor Hisham hoped that more help may be offered to the ministry and NGOs as they seek to address the decline in mental health.
Earlier today, FMT reported that Befrienders KL received 10,412 calls between March and May from people who were distressed and needed emotional support, a more than 50% increase compared to last year.
Befrienders KL publicity director Ardy Ayadali said more people were complaining about jobs and financial difficulties, especially during this lockdown. Those reporting suicidal tendencies were also up by 10% as at May.
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