Main image via Free Malaysia Today
With mental illness still being rather stigmatized today, it is often difficult for the distressed to seek the help they need because they fear being judged and ostracized. Hence, it is crucial that the barriers to seek support are removed, which is why some suicide survivors have come forth with their stories and services such as Befrienders, a non-profit organization that provides confidential emotional support 24/7, exist.
To further ensure easier access to Befrienders, The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) recently announced an initiative to waive all phone call charges to the Befrienders from August 1 onwards on eight telecommunications operators, namely 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.
In an age of digitalisation, MCMC chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak believes that new technologies can be leveraged to provide access to at risk groups to receive the support they need.
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.
Befrienders can be reached through phone (03-79568145/8144) or e-mail (email@example.com). For more information, visit www.befrienders.org.my.
Kudos to MCMC for taking the initiative to destigmatize mental illness and ensuring that everyone can have access to the help that they need!