On Sunday, 27th June, the government announced that the lockdown would continue indefinitely until the cases drop below 4,000. Malaysians all over the country expressed their unhappiness with this decision due to the negative implications that the lockdown has had. One of the biggest challenges that this period has brought is a sharp decrease in mental health.
A piece of hope that Malaysians have had during these trying times is a clear end date to the lockdown. Since that has been taken away by this new approach, individuals are having a harder time than ever coping. Depression, anxiety, OCD are just some of the mental health issues that have been growing during this time with cases of suicide sadly also on the rise.
In 2021 alone, there have been 336 police reported suicide cases, more than half of the 631 that were reported in 2020. 59% of Malaysians suffer from depression and 55% suffer from anxiety, there has also been a two-fold increase in individuals seeking help for their mental health since 2019 with Befrienders reporting that 1 in 3 calls have been due to suicidal thoughts.
Much of these mental health issues are brought about due to the difficulty of making ends meet. Families, especially within the B40 community, have been unable to provide basic necessities, some of them even going without proper food for days.
One social media campaign has come about to bring some hope back to the people. The #WhiteFlagCampaign or #BenderaPutih is a movement for the people by the people that aims to provide families in need with the basic necessities to get through the lockdown. The hope is that by families asking for help with white flags that the people within their community will come together and give food, water or whatever else they need.
This comes about at a time where citizens feel abandoned and let down by the government. So many have not received sufficient aid to survive through the past year and a half and felt that it was time to take things into their own hands. This campaigns sought to fill the gaps in the community and perpetuates the notion of #KitaJagaKita. Malaysians taking care of each other.
Below we have listed some resources to help those in need, including both NGOs that are providing basic necessities and mental health resources for those who want to reach out. It is important to remember that there is absolutely no shame in seeking support, it in fact shows immense strength.
Mental Health Resources:
- Lifeline Association Malaysia
- Womens Aid Organisation
- Miasa Malaysia
- Cukup Club
- Sneham Malaysia
- Malaysian Mental Health Association
- Malaysia Invisible Illness Association