SENIOR CITIZENS GOING INTO DEPRESSION - BEFRIENDERS KUALA LUMPUR

16 Jul 2013 07:54

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 (Bernama) -- The Befrienders Kuala Lumpur has revealed that senior citizens, especially those living in cities, are going into depression.

The non-governmental organisation's (NGO) executive administrator Maniam Raman Chettiar said increasing numbers of senior citizens were turning to them with their woes.

"Most of the senior citizens who call in say they feel neglected and depressed as their children are too busy to pay them any attention," he told Bernama.

Maniam said in 2012, The Befrienders received 20,191 contacts and 92 per cent of it were phone calls, six per cent emails and two per cent face to face, with the top three issues being relationship, psychiatric and family.

In addition to these issues, suicide ideation was expressed in 33 per cent of the emails and 20 per cent of the calls, he added.

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"During this period calls from senior citizens increased drastically by 30 per cent compared to previous years," he said.

The NGO was established in 1970 by 13 professionals including psychiatrists and psychologists from University Hospital Kuala Lumpur (now Universiti Malaya Medical Centre) and the Kuala Lumpur centre has 105 trained volunteers as of March 2013.

There are eight centres located in Penang, Ipoh, Melaka, Seremban, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu and Muar.

It was modeled after the 1953 Samaritans movement in London which has spread to about 40 countries with 300 centres around the world.

"We are friends to those who are in despair, feeling suicidal or depressed. We are there when personal problems become too much to handle. When no one cares and no one will listen," Maniam said.

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