Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

What service do you offer?

A:

The Befrienders' aim is to provide emotional support to anyone feeling despairing or suicidal. We believe that everyone has the right to control his or her own destiny - including the right to end his or her life. We won't tell you what to do and we don't judge - we are here to offer confidential emotional support.

Our hotlines, 04-2815161 and 2811108, are manned during our operating hours (Mondays to Fridays : 3pm - 12 midnight, Saturdays & Sundays : 5pm to 11pm) every day of the year.

We also respond to email at pat@befpen.org .

Q:

Are you a religious group?

A:

No. We are a non-religious, non-profit organization, we will help anyone of any race, colour or creed.

Q:

How did you start?

A:

The Befrienders Penang came into existence in the year 1978 by our founder Dato' Seri Khoo Keat Siew. The service started with a small group of 12 volunteers offering a three hour service on weekdays from 6.30pm - 9.30pm after which the service extended from 5.30pm - 10.30pm daily. We have come up a long way and now our service hours are from 3.00pm - 12 midnight on weekdays and 5.00pm - 11.00pm on weekends. We are actively pursuing our ambition of providing a 24 hour service.

The Samaritans UK was started in 1953 by Chad Varah. After the success in Britain, Chad Varah turned his attention to the rest of the world. He felt that the same approach as that used in Britain could be transported regardless of nation, colour, creed culture or race, and this has proved to be true. There are now over 400 centres spread over the five continents where dedicated volunteers help their own suicidal and despairing. Befrienders International was founded to help member centres to continue in the work of befriending and also to encourage their growth. Today, there are hundreds of Samaritans and Befrienders branches in UK and affiliated centres around the world.

There are other Befrienders Centres in Malaysia, namely Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Malacca, Seremban and Johor Bahru. The main objective is to provide a listening service for people in times of emotional crisis and to support persons tempted to suicide. Our callers need not fear criticism or being judged by the person taking the call. For those in need of professional help, the Befrienders act as a reference center and directs them to the appropriate person or place. The additional objectives are to provide training for interested persons and to work with the proper authorities towards improving the mental and emotional health of the people in and around Penang.

Our belief in providing this service is that people in trouble may need someone to talk with, in a supportive and compassionate manner. The giving of advice in any form of manner is strictly forbidden. Our main method of service is through telephone. The service is free and confidential and available to all members of the public.

Q:

Are you Confidential?

A:

The Befrienders offer absolute confidentiality. There are no exceptions to this rule. Nothing our callers say or write to us ever goes beyond our centre - whatever the circumstances, age of the caller or state of mind.

We do not have caller ID on our telephones, if you are concerned about email confidentiality, you can always create a yahoo or hotmail address specifically to contact us. E-mail messages are retained for a time to preserve continuity. If you ask us to, we will delete them earlier.

Q:

I'm worried that my friend, partner, co-worker etc. may be suicidal

A:

Please make contact! We highly encourage you to get the person you are concerned about to call or email us personally. But if we do make contact, our confidentiality rule will mean that we cannot tell you what is said, or even whether the contact was made.

Being close to someone who is in distress can be a very difficult experience. We are also here to support you and listen to your concerns and fears.

Q:

Are there other suicide helplines in Malaysia?

A:

There are Befrienders hotlines also in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Malacca, Seremban, Muar, Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu.

Q:

How are you funded?

A:

As a non-profit voluntary organization, we are funded mostly by public donations. We are always in need of financial support to run our services even though our volunteers are not paid.

Q:

Can I help?

A:

If you can speak English/Malay or Chinese and are interested in becoming a Befriender, contact us at our hotlines for the latest information about selection and training.

If you are interested in helping us out by sponsoring us or donating to us, please call us at our hotlines. Your contributions will help us to go a long way. Tax exempt receipts will be issued for donations of RM 50.00 and above. We are very grateful for any donations you can make to support our service.

Q:

Do you keep records?

A:

We only keep statistical information (which does not allow individuals to be identified) to enable us to monitor our service.

Q:

What is your phone number?

A:

Our hotlines are 04-2815161 and 2811108.

Pages