The phones have been buzzing at the old bungalow in Jalan Templer, Petaling Jaya as the handful of Befrienders Kuala Lumpur volunteers lend their ears to those in need.
The Covid-19 outbreak and gloomy economy have resulted in more people feeling depressed and dejected.
And the number of phone calls have spiked since the Movement Control Order was imposed on March 18.
While the National Security Council had said call centres can run normally with management and administration done minimally, there were concerns that Befrienders Kuala Lumpur volunteers would not be able to operate from their headquarters.
Befrienders Kuala Lumpur patron Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye saw the need to explain the situation to Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal.
“And he was a fine chap who was willing to hear us out,” said Lee.
“In fact, he made an effort to visit our headquarters (yesterday) to understand better what we do.
“Nik Ezanee was convinced that this is a noble objective and assured us that our volunteers will be allowed to go to the headquarters.”
Lee said he felt the need to reach out to the police immediately after the government announced that the military will assist the police from Sunday.
This move comes after a large number of Malaysians continue to go outdoors despite repeated advice by the government and enforcement authorities.
“People must respect the order and stay at home. But we have been around for 50 years and we run a 24-hour service centre. At any one time, we have three or four volunteers manning the phones, listening and talking to those who are desperate, depressed and who want to end their lives.
“There has been an increase in the number of calls after the partial lockdown and the present economic situation. More people are suffering from acute income deficiency syndrome. They are so depressed.
“It’s tragic. That is why we need to assist them.”
Those who seek emotional support can contact Befrienders Kuala Lumpur at +603-79568145.