Befrienders Melaka is currently facing a shortage of volunteers to handle calls.

MELAKA: Befrienders Melaka is currently facing a shortage of volunteers to handle calls.

Its chairman, Olivia Chua, voiced her concerns and called on eligible members of the public to volunteer.

“We currently have 20 experienced volunteers and another three are being trained. However, we need at least 28 volunteers.

“Each night, we need four volunteers to answer calls from 7pm till midnight,” she said, adding that the volunteers will only be required to be on duty for three hours every week.

She said Befrienders Melaka must recruit between six and eight volunteers before training can be provided.

“We will be conducting a preview for volunteers who will be trained in providing listening therapy to our callers.

“The preview will be held from 8pm to 10pm on Sept 15 at the Befrienders Melaka Centre in Ujong Pasir.

“Volunteers play an important role. If callers feel comfortable to talk, then they will continue to express themselves.

“But if there are language barriers, the caller will feel uncomfortable and be unable to express their problems, and choose not to call again,” she said.

In view of this, she said that volunteers must be bilingual or trilingual in order to help more people in need of emotional support, particularly those with suicidal thoughts.

“Each year we receive around 4,000 calls and about nine per cent of the calls are those with suicidal thoughts.

“Sixty percent of the calls are those from the 21 to 40 years old age group, while the number of female and male callers is quite equal,” she said.

She added that 80 per cent of the callers are Mandarin-speaking.

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