Lifeline International recently welcomed our 26th Member, providing more ways for people living in Malaysia to seek judgement-free help and support.
SNEHAM Malaysia (officially known as Pertubuhan Kebajikan Sneham Malaysia) was founded by Dr. Florance Sinniah and established in October 2018 with the aim of preventing suicide. In January 2019, it became the first helpline to offer a toll-free service in Malaysia and was the first private helpline in Tamil and Bahasa Malaysia.
Using three strategies to achieve the goal of suicide prevention—crisis intervention, advocacy, and collaboration—SNEHAM hopes to alleviate human misery, loneliness, despair, and depression by listening to callers as a friend when they feel they have no one to turn to.
“SNEHAM’s vision is no life should be lost by suicide and our theme is ‘Building Hope Together’”, says Dr Sinniah.
“The intent to go local with our Helpline services is to ensure no one is left behind ensuring our services are available in Bahasa, Tamil, and English.”
In Malaysia there are communities who only speak the native languages, so by providing confidential support in confidence in Tamil, Bahasa, or English, SNEHAM’s approach centres on empathetic listening, empowering individuals to manage the various challenges of life while promoting the importance of seeking professional help.
Aiming to help anyone struggling with personal emotional challenges, including depression and suicidal thoughts, SNEHAM has been receiving a steady stream of calls since its inception. Run by 35 volunteers and with a total of 48 members, SNEHAM extends its services to all communities in Malaysia regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, age, and social status.
Besides Tele-Counselling, SNEHAM also actively engages in advocacy work promoting mental and emotional well-being and suicide awareness campaigns in Bahasa, English and Tamil in schools, colleges, and communities by either face-to-face or virtual services.
As suicide is a complex social and mental health problem, SNEHAM believes in collaborating with individuals, government agencies, other non-profit organisations to create community awareness of the importance of mental well-being and suicide prevention through various programs and projects.
SNEHAM’s membership comes at a particularly significant time. In a historic move, legislation has passed in Malaysia to decriminalise suicide—signaling a significant shift in the country’s approach to mental health. With an increase in help-seeking expected from individuals facing emotional distress or contemplating self-harm, LifeLine International is proud to support our Malaysian Members as they increase access to life-saving suicide prevention services.
To learn more about SNEHAM Malaysia, visit their Facebook page.