There have been an almost 50 percent increase in the call for help received by Befrienders KL this year, compared to last year.

According to Free Malaysia Today (FMT), the tele-counselling hotline received 10,412 calls from March to May this year - up from the 6,858 calls received in the corresponding period last year.

The majority of calls are of people talking about job losses, financial stress, and even having suicidal thoughts.

"The main reasons why people call us remain the same. The majority of complaints are firstly, mental health, second is relationships, and third is family. But we notice an increase in financial and job-related complaints," the portal quoted Ardy Ayadali, the publicity director of Befrienders KL, saying.

Ardy said that this could be due to many people losing their income and being unable to cope with the stress of being financially strapped during the pandemic.

People calling in with suicidal tendencies have also increased as of May this year, he added.

"On average, around one out of three callers will indicate suicidal tendencies, at around 30 percent. This year, we notice that the number is close to 40 percent."

Although volunteers at Befrienders KL attend to such calls by asking follow-up questions, they are not trained to give professional advice, Ardy noted.

As such, there was a concern of of the real numbers of people being suicidal may be higher, he lamented.

It was reported that 226 people committed suicide during the Movement Control Order (MCO) from March 18 to October 31 last year - an average of one case per day.

There have also been cases people taking their own lives during this year's COVID-19 lockdown. On Wednesday, a man reportedly jumped to his death from his apartment in Butterworth after being depressed from his business being shut down during the lockdown.

Source: FMT
Photo source: Astro Awani