Befrienders see increase in those with suicidal thoughts

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 17 Aug 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Nearly 35% of the 30, 075 calls received by Befrienders Kuala Lumpur in 2018 were from those who have suicidal tendencies, says its executive director Kenny Lim.

He said almost half of those who contacted the centre were those with mental health issues or facing relationship and family problems.

He said the number of calls received by Befrienders KL, had been increasing steadily every year, with 26, 927 calls received in 2017 and 24, 821 (2016).

“Of the 30, 075 calls received last year, 66.2% were from females, 31.7% were males, while the gender of the remaining 2.1% was unknown, ” he said.

Profiled by age, those aged between 21 and 29 years contributed 19.7% of the calls, followed by those aged between 30 and 49 years (16.8%); between 15 and 20 years (14.3%); between 50 and 69 years (7.4%); between five and 14 years (1%), and those aged 70 years and above (0.5%), he said, adding that the remaining did not give their age.

Befrienders KL is a non-profit organisation that provides 24-hour emotional support to those who are in need of help.

It provides this via the phone, email and appointment with Befrienders volunteers, apart from organising outreach programmes and seminars for free.

“We have 120 volunteers and we provide a safe haven for those suffering from emotional issues, life problems and having suicidal tendencies, ” said Lim, who has been with Befrienders for 21 years.

He also thanked the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission for the partnership with eight telecommunications companies to waive call charges made to the helpline from Aug 1.

“This is a positive step because those who need emotional support don’t have to worry about the cost of making the call. Prior to this, some people told us that they did not have any credit left.

“This move will encourage more of those with emotional issues to contact Befrienders, ” he said.

The telecommunications company involved in the collaboration are 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.

Lim hopes to increase the number of volunteers as well as to open more branches to support its existing branches in Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Johor Baru, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. - Bernama

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