Ahead of World Mental Health Day, the BFM radio station interviewed Mr. Justin Victor, Senior Lecturer from School of Media and Communication (SOMAC), who is the Chairman of Befrienders Kuala Lumpur, to find out more about the work that they do, and how we as a community can do better to support those struggling with their mental health. The interview was titled “Here to Listen Without Judgment’. Befrienders has been in Malaysia for 52 years providing a 24/7 emotional support helpline and engaging in public awareness and education to prevent suicides. The interview was aired on the Good Things programme on BFM.
The Producer and Host Lim Sue Ann introduced the session by saying that Befrienders Kuala Lumpur is a familiar name for many of us, especially if you have read news reports or articles on mental health issues, you would have seen Befrienders’ contact details at the bottom with several other helplines. The main point emphasized by Mr. Justin was the effort to help people with mental health issues is not only the responsibility of mental health professionals such as psychiatrist, clinical psychologist and counsellors. There are just not enough of these professionals in the country and their current numbers are way below the recommended ratio to the population of Malaysia.
A lot can and should be done by the public either by volunteering in an NGO such as Befrienders, Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association (MIASA) or Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA), or by just making the effort to learn basic skills in dealing with a troubled person. This first line of response can often be enough to prevent people from deteriorating further.
The recorded interview can be accessed at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/bigger-picture/good-things/title-befrienders-kl-here-to-listen-without-judgement
This segment talks about suicide and may be triggering for some listeners. If you need emotional support, you can call 24-hour helplines Befrienders KL 03 7627 2929 or MIASA's 1-800-820066. If you are a survivor of suicide loss, you can text AWAS at 010-2344808 for support.