Calls to Befrienders helpline will be free-of-charge effective Aug 1.
This follows the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) initiative to join forces with eight telecommunications operators to waive call charges made by customers to the Befrienders.
They are Celcom Axiata Berhad, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Maxis Berhad, Telekom Malaysia Berhad, TIME dotcom Berhad, U Mobile Sdn Bhd, Webe Digital Sdn Bhd and YTL Communications Sdn Bhd, said MCMC in a statement today.
Befrienders is a non-profit organisation that provides emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to the distressed and the suicidal.
MCMC chairperson Al-Ishsal Ishak in the statement believed that suicidal symptoms could be prevented and eradicated with collective efforts from various stakeholders, including the government and industry players.
“Among the key steps that need to be taken to eliminate the stigma in the community against mental illness and suicidal symptoms are through assistance such as enabling access to Befrienders, which is now free for those who need advice, counselling and emotional support,” he said.
“As we advance through digitalisation, a collaborative effort that focuses on ways to leverage social media and latest technology to identify those most at risk, can be explored,” he added.
MCMC said, echoing Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo’s recent call that no one should be excluded in the country’s journey towards a digital shift, the announcement made was timely for those in need, distress, despair and having suicidal thoughts to seek assistance via the Befrienders helpline.
Anonymous callers can express their problems and dilemmas to the trained volunteers at Befrienders. All conversations are confidential.