The National Mental Health Crisis Line or HEAL Line 15555 will start operating on Friday (21 October) to help people who are facing mental health problems to get early support, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
According to Bernama, Khairy said the operators will be handled by well-trained Health Ministry psychology (counselling) officers to give emotional support to the caller.
“They are given training so that they can detect the emotional state of the caller based on their intonation (voice) and calm the caller,” he said.
Khairy added that the line operates from 8 am to midnight every day, including public holidays, and that the operating hours would be improved in the future.
He said this five-digit line is an improvement to the ministry’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Service to provide emotional and psychosocial support for those individuals who are facing severe stress.
Khairy also noted that mental health issues had been an increasing trend and it has since been identified as a major challenge to the health sector.
In Malaysia, suicide cases have seen a worrying increase from 631 cases in 2020 to 1,142 cases in 2021.
Addressing service gaps
Meanwhile, Khairy said the National Centre of Excellence for Mental Health (NCEMH) centre will be able to help minimise the service gap and enhance the sharing of mental health expertise resources through a combination of experts with a biopsychosocial approach, as well as spiritual aspects.
“The NCEMH will also be a local reference and training centre, with accreditation and credentialing of mental health programmes,” he said.
Khairy added that NCEMH will enhance the strategic collaboration with government and private agencies as well as non-governmental organisations.
Currently, the operation NCEMH has a total of 54 members from various professions.
At the same time, Khairy also said that the ministry will set up a mental health Hub via a digital platform to strengthen mental health surveillance activities.