More than 120,000 Malaysians called for emotional support, counselling while 1080 attempted suicide during pandemic

PUTRAJAYA, May 21 – A total of 145,173 Malaysians called the various support agencies and helplines set up by the government with voluntary organisations such as Mercy Malaysia and other helplines during the COVID-19 pandemic period from March 25, 2020 to May 20 this year.

Out of this number, 85 percent of them (more 120,000) called for emotional support and counselling for mental health-related issues ranging from fear, anxiety and stress to depression, abuse and suicidal thoughts.

In a press statement today, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba acknowledged that the last two years have been tough on everyone with the onset of the pandemic and this has affected the psychological and mental well being of many people.

He said the calls for support were made to helpline numbers such as those set up by his ministry together with Mercy Malaysia, Talian Kasih, as well as the KSK-Care from Jakim.

Losing their jobs, not having any source of income, problems in personal relationships, not having access to any aid, family conflicts and feeling stigmatized were cited as among the reasons for many not being able to cope with their situation.

He said data from the Health Ministry also showed that 1,080 people had attempted suicide between January 2020 and December 2020 and had received treatment from government hospitals.

Dr Adham also said the ministry had activated its Mental Health and Psycho Support Services (MHPSS) teams at state and district levels since last year to provide emotional support for those affected by the COVID-19, including patients, those going through quarantine, those who have lost their families, frontliners and others.