Miasa launches crisis helpline for mental health

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association (Miasa) on Tuesday (Oct 12) launched its crisis helpline, MIASA_YSD-1-800 which connects callers with trained volunteers, caregivers and mental health advocates who can provide empathy and help alleviate times of crisis.

Miasa president, Anita Abu Bakar said the initiative sponsored by Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) and supported by Maxis and the Health Ministry (MOH) was to boost help in the community, with 100 crisis team members to help man the helpline from Monday onwards.

"What is unique about our crisis team volunteers is that they are able to go to the persons in crisis, and the service is not limited to just talking on the phone with these persons. We are able to go the extra mile and do more for the persons in need.

"Those who would like to reach out for help may contact the crisis helpline at 1-800-820066 starting from Monday next week,” she said in a statement on the crisis helpline launched by the patron of the National Alliance of Mental Health, Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi, virtually, today.

Meanwhile, YSD chief executive officer, Dr Yatela Zainal Abidin is confident that the contribution will help alleviate the current resource limitations, so that the experts and volunteers might be able to focus on helping those in need.

"YSD is cognisant of the decreasing state of mental health among Malaysians during these unprecedented times, and we are highly concerned to learn that the MOH received 166,869 calls on mental health issues between January and September 2021, which is almost four times more calls received compared to the same period in the previous year.

"We understand that the number of people contacting Miasa for support is currently double than what it was before. These individuals are seeking assistance, guidance and companionship during the lowest points in their lives, which may result in unfortunate incidents if the right support is not provided immediately when they seek it,” she said.

Ras Adiba, who is also a member of the Senate representing those with disabilities, congratulated Anita and Miasa’s team for the initiative and hard work in fighting stigma and discrimination, while continuing to further improve and strengthen the services and support provided to the community. - Bernama

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