Health Ministry wants telcos to provide free calls to 15555 mental health helpline

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry is working with telecommunications companies to provide free calls to the Mental Health Crisis Helpline or HEAL Line 15555.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Lukanisman Awang Sauni said the helpline would make it easier for the public, especially teenagers, to have access to mental health counselling services.

"We have received offers from telecommunications companies to provide this helpline free of charge, as currently it is subject to regular charges.

"We hope that major companies like Celcom, Digi and Maxis will offer this service for free to encourage more young people to seek help and receive advice from counsellors," he said in response to a supplementary question from Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (PN-Rantau Panjang) regarding the specific strategies for addressing mental health issues among children.

Lukanisman said that the HEAL Line has received 46,324 calls since it was set up on Oct 21, 2022.

Of the total, 27,361 calls or 59% of clients, received emotional support and counselling assistance, while 18,963 calls (41%) received specialised interventions from counselling psychologists.

"There were 288 cases of suicidal behaviour, of which 161 cases of suicidal ideation were given interventions and 127 suicide attempt cases were referred to health facilities for further treatment," he said.

He added that for every suicide attempt case successfully rescued and discharged from the hospital, helpline officers, particularly psychology officers, would conduct regular follow-up calls to ensure ongoing treatment and recovery. – Bernama

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