PETALING JAYA, Oct 20 — Mercy Malaysia has started a dedicated psychosocial support hotline for Sabahans in light of a Covid-19 spike in the state.
The free-of-charge service will provide a listening ear for anyone who may be struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, or other negative emotions as a result of the pandemic.
Mercy Malaysia’s health coordinator Masniza Mustafa told Malay Mail that the rising number of Covid-19 cases and the ongoing conditional movement control order in Sabah can have a detrimental effect on mental health.
This means that services like a psychosocial support hotline can be a lifesaver as the state continues to battle a health crisis.
“The fear and anxiety of being infected and affected by this pandemic could be overwhelming and cause a strong emotion in adults and children, and it could lead to significant psychosocial consequences in the future.
“Realising the current situation and the need for psychosocial support for people in Sabah, Mercy Malaysia has responded by extending our Psychosocial Support Hotline services to people in Sabah,” said Masniza.
The hotline will be manned by clinical psychologists and counsellors who can provide Psychological First Aid, which the American Psychological Association defines as an "initial disaster response intervention with the goal to promote safety, stabilise survivors of disasters, and connect individuals to help and resources."
Four psychosocial volunteers from Mercy Malaysia and two psychology officers from the Health Ministry will also be tasked with taking the calls.
The service is available predominantly in Bahasa Malaysia for now but Mercy Malaysia will be able to accommodate other languages and dialects upon request.
The hotline will run from 8am to 5pm every day and can be reached at 088 338088.