Covid-19: Health Ministry’s support hotline receives over 100,000 calls seeking counselling


PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry has received more than 100,000 calls seeking counselling and emotional support this year alone.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry’s psychosocial support hotline had received 122,328 calls from Jan 1 to June 18.

“Of the 122,328 calls received by the hotline, about 90% are psychological issues linked to matters such as unemployment, loss of income, family feuds and marital problems,” he said in his daily Covid-19 statement on Friday (June 25).

Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry had teamed up with Mercy Malaysia to set up the psychosocial support centre, which is based at the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) since March 25.

The hotline is handled by the ministry’s counselling officers and assisted by volunteers from other agencies and non-government organisations (NGO).

Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry has also set up mental health psychosocial support services to Covid-19 patients and family members at hospitals and quarantine centres.

“Among the services provided include psychosocial and psychospiritual support as well as grief counselling to family members of patients who have died due to Covid-19,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said to reduce the psychological impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the people must always take care of their mental wellbeing.

“Ensure continuous communication with family and friends. Even if you are under isolation, you can communicate online and through social media.

“Seek counselling services immediately when needed because emotional and mental support is very important.

“Also, be sensitive to changes in others around us who may need support, and be helpful,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham also called on members of the public to avoid giving stigma and negative labels to those infected with Covid-19.

“This can discriminate and prevent the public from seeking screening and treatment,” he said.

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