The movement control order (MCO) has been extended for another two weeks, until 28 April.
Though many Malaysians supported and agreed with the government’s decision to extend the MCO period so we can prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and break the chain of infections - there are others who are anxious and worried.
Photo via mirror.co.uk
Being confined indoors for the past four weeks has taken its toll on many, and affected their mental health. Prior to the implementation of the MCO on 18 March, some were already living in fear as they were afraid that they or their loved ones would be infected with the virus.
In times like this is where many find it difficult to cope and emotional support is very much needed.
Befrienders’ patron, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye expressed that not everyone has their own support system or someone that they can confide in. Therefore, helplines like Befrienders providing such services to the general public is essential. Due to the crisis, many helplines were also being set up by concerned parties.
During the first seven days of the MCO, Befrienders received an increase of 13% in the number of calls on their 24-hour helpline. Out of the total calls received, 9% of them were from callers with issues related to COVID-19 or the MCO.
Since the MCO was extended for another two weeks the first time, Befrienders opted to use Skype Voice Call to continue offering free, non-judgmental emotional support.
People from different walks of life are reaching out to Befrienders - those who struggle to adapt to the sudden change, those who are feeling physically trapped which affects them emotionally, and those who have conflict within their family due to heightened stress levels.
There were also some who had to postpone sessions with their mental health professionals, due to the MCO. Some were even troubled by the uncertainties - when will the MCO be lifted, what is going to happen next, will I be able to manage life post-MCO? Due to the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, some were feeling suicidal too.
Those who are struggling to cope in the current difficult situation, are encouraged to reach out and talk to someone you can trust or reach out to a helpline. Although it is normal to feel stressed and anxious, if you find it too overwhelming, do seek help!
If you have a friend, family member or some you know who is struggling, please be empathic and allow them time to talk about their struggles, or share contact details of helplines with them. The Befrienders KL offers confidential emotional support to anyone in need of a listening ear, 24 hours a day.
As not everyone knows how to use Skype or has access to the internet, Befrienders has added a temporary phone line: +603-76272929 (call charges may apply).
Please know that you are never alone and that we are getting through this, together! Stay safe and take care of your mental health.
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat