Calls To Befrienders About MCO Increased To 38%, Here Are The Signs You Need To Look Out For

Calls To Befrienders About MCO Increased To 38%, Here Are The Signs You Need To Look Out For

The Movement Control Order (MCO) has been extended by the government to break the infection chain and keep us safe. At this point, the announcement of extension from our Prime Minister is totally understandable and it’s necessary to flatten the curve.


During the first seven days of MCO, there’s an increase of 13% in the number of calls received 

It’s good to know that we are in safe hands when it comes to the nation’s health. However, being in confinement for almost a month now has taken a toll on some, particularly on their mental health.

Source: NBC News

Befrienders KL is an organisation that provides an outlet for those are struggling mentally and emotionally during the MCO. Corresponding with their Executive Director, Kenny Lim and their patron Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, we have embarked to discuss about the much needed topic which is mental health during MCO.


Concerns and worries raised by callers include ‘feeling trapped’ and more

In a press release statement given out by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, he stated that some were already living in fear as they were afraid that they or their loved ones would be infected with COVID-19, prior to the implementation of the MCO on 18 March.

Source: New Straits Times

According to Dr Lee Lam Thye, there were calls from people who are:

  • Struggling to adapt to the sudden change.
  • Feeling trapped physically which then affected them emotionally.
  • Having conflict within their family due to heightened stress levels.
  • Having to postpone sessions with their mental health professionals.
  • Troubled by the uncertainties such as “When will the MCO be lifted?”,  “What is going to happen next?” and “Will I be able to manage life post-MCO?”


The growing number of calls regarding Covid-19 now is up to 38%!

Befrienders shared with WORLD OF BUZZ the concerning number of increase with issues related to Covid-19 or MCO.

Here is the stats of calls related to Covid-19/MCO:
First week: 9%
Second week: 14%
April so far: 38%
Source: New Straits Times

After the MCO has gotten stricter, the Befrienders volunteers were not able to answer calls at their centre in Petaling Jaya. Upon discovering other alternatives, they decided to use Skype Voice Call to continue offering free and non-judgmental emotional support.


Helplessness and hopelessness leading to suicidal thoughts

The circumstance we are currently in requires everyone to stay indoors and limit their movements. The confinement also increased worry and anxiety in Malaysians.

Due to the helplessness and hopelessness, some callers were feeling suicidal too. If you are feeling suicidal, please reach out. You are not alone, there will always be people who are willing to listen and provide comfort.


Signs to look out for to seek for help/mental support

When asked about the signs that one should pay attention to, Kenny shared with us:

  • Losing functionality in day-to-day life
  • Lethargy, loss of focus/concentration
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Change in mood, behaviour (Eg: getting aggressive, angry, extremely quiet)
  • Change in appetite – increased or decreased
  • Change in sleeping behaviour – whether it’s difficult to sleep or it’s sleeping too much
  • Isolating, withdrawing from others
  • Expressing feelings verbally, through texting or on social media
Source: Minfdul

How can I help a friend/family member/closed one who is struggling during MCO?

If you know someone who is struggling, please be empathetic, allow them time to talk about their struggles, or share contact details of helplines with them.

If you are struggling, reach out and talk to someone you can trust. You can also reach out to a helpline if you are struggling to cope.


Befrienders Hotline:

Since the volunteers are unable to operate from their centres, you can now reach them through:

Skype ID: BefKL Skype 1

Telephone Number: 03 – 7627 2929 (normal call charges apply)

The Befrienders KL offers confidential emotional support to anyone in need of a listening ear, 24 hours a day. So it’s never too late to reach out and talk to someone.

Please stay safe and remember that we are all in this together. 

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