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MOH’s Heal Hotline Received 18,264 Calls In First 7 Months Of Operation

169 calls were from people who were suffering from suicidal ideation or attempted suicide. 67 cases of suicidal ideation were given intervention, while 102 cases of attempted suicide were taken to the hospital for further treatment.

Photo by Daniel Reche/Pexels.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 – Since it became operational almost seven months ago, the Heal Hotline 15555 (Help With Empathy And Love) under the National Centre of Excellence for Mental Health (NCEMH) has received 18,264 calls as of June 3, 2023.

Out of this number, 12,181 (67 per cent) of its callers received support and emotional assistance, while 6,083 (33 per cent) were provided with special intervention from the counselling psychology officer.

A total of 169 calls involved suicide related cases, which includes suicidal ideation and attempted suicide.

Out of this number, 67 cases of suicidal ideation were given intervention and 102 cases of attempted suicide were taken to the hospital for further treatment through activation of the Malaysian Emergency Response Services (MERS999) and cooperation of the Royal Malaysian Police and Emergency Department.

These figures were provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a written Dewan Negara reply on June 20 to Senator Lim Pay Hen. Lim had asked for the operational status, main targets and achievements to date of the NCEMH, which was launched in October 2022.

“At the moment, NCEMH functions with a capacity of 46 people implementing five main scopes, namely mental health promotion and mental health prevention, mental health crisis intervention, mental health training and education, mental health surveillance, as well as research and innovation,” said health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

Aside from engagement with other ministries and government agencies, MOH has also disbursed funds to 52 NGOs that are actively involved in mental health activities at the community level. These activities include:

  • Advocacy activities including seminars, webinars and forums, for targeted communities including those working, the elderly and the OKU.
  • Counselling services and social support assistance to all levels of the community including those from the B40 group and victims of disasters.
  • Training on psychological first aid to volunteers, youths, and health personnels in private facilities.
  • Mental health programmes through art therapy and performances to school and university students.
  • Mental health activities through sports and recreation with local communities.

Additionally, online activities are conducted periodically on the NCEMH social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, said the minister.

“To date, 350 infographics and educational videos on mental health has been uploaded on NCEMH social media platforms and have successfully reached 339,800 views.”

Last May 22, the Dewan Rakyat approved the repeal of Section 309 of the Penal Code, which means attempted suicide is no longer a crime.

“Following the repeal, amendments to the Mental Health Act have also been made to improve capacity and give power to save individuals who attempt suicide by creating crisis intervention officers from among PDRM, firefighters, the civil defence force, Maritime Malaysia, and the Department of Welfare Malaysia,” Dr Zaliha said in a separate written reply on the same date.

“These crisis intervention officers are empowered to take individuals who are trying to commit suicide directly to the hospital for further assessment and appropriate treatment, and then given a referral for psychiatric, counseling and psychosocial support treatment.”

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