While mental health is still a relatively taboo topic to discuss, more people are now engaging in honest conversations about this topic. Services that cater to those struggling with their mental health are also becoming more widely known.
However, while there is more awareness about mental health services, there is still the issue of these services bearing a hefty price tag, and this is also being addressed by insurance companies like AIA, who have recently begun offering coverage for mental illnesses.
Now, in an effort to make mental health services in Malaysia even more affordable and accessible, the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) just announced that eight telecommunications operators in the country will be waiving call charges to customers who call the Befrienders helpline starting 1st August 2019.
Befrienders is a 24-hour helpline that offers support and counselling services to Malaysians who are experiencing emotional distress, suicidal thoughts, or any other problems related to mental health.
According to the New Straits Times, the telco companies that will be waiving charges are;
- Celcom Axiata Bhd
- Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd
- Maxis Bhd
- Telekom Malaysia Bhd
- TIME dotcom Bhd
- U Mobile Sdn Bhd
- Webe Digital Sdn Bhd
- YTL Communications Sdn Bhd
Al-Ishal Ishak, MCMC’s chairman, was quoted as saying,
“Among the key steps that need to be taken to eliminate the stigma in the community against mental illness and suicidal symptoms are through assistance such as enabling access to Befrienders, which is now free for those who need advice, counselling and emotional support.”
“As we advance through digitalisation, a collaborative effort that focuses on ways to leverage social media and (the) latest technology to identify those most at risk, can be explored.”
If you find yourself struggling with your mental health, contact Befrienders at 03-79568145/8144 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below are Befrienders’ contact details according to different states in Malaysia;
What do you think about local telcos waiving charges for calls to Befrienders? Let us know in the comments section.