Frequently Asked Questions

What service do you offer?
Befrienders’ aim is to provide emotional support to anyone feeling suicidal, lonely, miserable, depressed or in despair. We value that a person has the fundamental decision about their own life. We are non-judgemental and do not impose our convictions on anyone but instead provide confidential emotional support.

Our hotlines, 04-2910100, is manned from Monday to Sunday: 3:00 pm to 12 midnight every day of the year.

You can also email us: pat@befpen.org  OR Whatsapp us on 011-5670 6261 

Are you a religious group?

No. We are a non-profit NGO with no alliance to any political or religious group. We help everyone irrespective of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

How did you start?

Befrienders Penang was founded by Dato’ Seri Khoo Keat Siew in 1978 in accordance with the principles of Samaritans UK. The service started with a small group of 12 volunteers operating a few hours on weekdays. Befrienders Penang is actively pursuing our ambition of providing a 24/7 service.

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, culture or race, and this has proved to be true. The names Samaritans & Befrienders are now synonymous with 349 centres spread over 32 countries with over 25,000 trained volunteers. Their main objective is to listen empathetically to people having emotional crisis and to provide emotional support to those feeling suicidal. 

Are your services confidential?

Contact with Befrienders remains strictly confidential within our centre; so too with everything revealed by or about the person contacting us by telephone, e-mail, Whatsapp or in person.

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 period of time to preserve continuity. If you ask us to, we will delete them earlier.

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

Please make contact! We highly encourage you to get the person you are concerned about to call, e-mail or Whatsapp us personally.

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.

Are there other Befrienders centres in Malaysia?

Yes. There are 9 Befrienders centres throughout Malaysia. Go to AFFILIATES to search for one nearest you.

How are you funded?

As a non-profit voluntary organization, we are funded mostly by public donations. We are always in need of financial support to maintain the running costs of our call centre and furthering our objective of improving the mental and emotional health of the people in and around Penang.

Can I help?

If you speak English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and/or any Chinese dialect and interested in becoming a Befriender, contact us on befpen.training@gmail.com for the latest information on Recruitment & Training.

If you are interested in donating to us or working with us in any capacity, please contact us on admin@befpen.org.

Tax exempt receipts will be issued for donations of RM 50.00 and above.

Do you keep records?

We only keep statistical information (which does not allow individuals’ data to be identified) to monitor the effectiveness of our service.

What is your phone number?

Our hotlines is 04-2910100 .

What email address should I use for non-urgent items?

You may use admin@befpen.org for all administrative mail unless we specifically ask you to use another address.

What sort of people are the Befrienders?

We are unpaid volunteers who have been carefully selected and trained to offer emotional support in a crisis. There is a wide variation in age, occupation, race and background amongst our volunteers.