Lending a listening ear helps


  • Metro News
  • Wednesday, 02 Sep 2020

Since the start of the MCO, Befrienders Johor Baru volunteers attended to 770 calls monthly, a 40% increase compared to before the MCO. — Filepic

JOHOR BARU: Individuals suffering from anxiety and depression are advised to share their problems with those they trust, especially family members and close friends.

Befrienders Johor Baru president Danny Loo said those who were depressed could also get help from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) offering emotional support in the form of a sympathetic ear, through confidential hotlines.

He said there was a difference between anxiety and depression, adding that a person suffering from anxiety could also end up with depression.

“Those with anxiety symptoms are worried about something that is not happening yet or worrying needlessly,” Loo explained.

He said the movement control order (MCO) led to trying times as all non-essential services and economic sectors in the country were temporarily suspended.

“People worried that they would be out of a job or their businesses would close down.”

He said such stress levels could lead to depression.

He elaborated that anxiety and depression levels varied from person to person.

He emphasised that it was important for the people to share their problems with a third party to get support.

“We give callers options for them to explore, with no questions asked.

“We just lend an ear and listen to their problems,” he added.

Loo said that since the start of the MCO, Befrienders Johor Baru’s volunteers had attended to 770 calls monthly, an increase of 40% compared to before the MCO.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia counselling centre director Dr Zulfikar Ahmad said depression was classified as a mood disorder and it might be described as feelings of sadness, loss or anger that interfered with a person’s routine.

He said people experienced depression in different ways and that it could interfere with their daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity, influence relationships and sometimes even lead to chronic health conditions.

“Anxiety is fear and worry about something that results in uncertainty and insecurity.

“It is not unusual to experience anxiety before a big event or making an important decision,” said Dr Zulfikar.

He said anxiety could lead to depression and the latter was considered a serious medical condition that could get worse without proper treatment.

“It is important for family members to be alert and notice signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression among anyone in their circle,’’ he advised.

He highlighted that men, women and children experience depression differently such as aggressiveness, reduced sexual desire, insomnia, loss of interest in activities, sleeping too much, crying and decline in school performance.

Dr Zulfikar said some general symptoms of anxiety included feeling tired easily, muscle tension, grinding teeth, racing heart, sleep disturbance and panic.

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