Mental Health Therapy Services in Malaysia Homage

Affordable Mental Health Therapy Services in Malaysia

Let mental health be your priority this year. Here's a list of affordable counselling and therapy services that you can easily access in person or online in Malaysia.

by Katherine Khaw

Affordable Therapy Options in Malaysia

In this article, we will cast our focus on mental health in Malaysia and see what resources are available in the country.

Mental Health Statistics in Malaysia

According to certified mental health and awareness practitioner Dr Praveena Rajendra, as of 2015 and up to date, one in three Malaysians suffer from mental health woes.

The number of distressed Malaysians has increased, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frustrations and worries were notably at their peak during the Movement Control Order (MCO) enacted nationwide to curb the spread of the virus trail. Within the first week of MCO, a 13 per cent increase in calls was received at The Befrienders Kuala Lumpur, a non-profit organisation that offers emotional support to the distressed and suicidal.

Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

Considering a diagnosis for one’s mental health condition can be a source of distress itself. Mental illness has been a taboo subject in Malaysian society, partly due to generational differences and a lack of sufficient awareness. Many of the older ones may consider it as a sign of weakness, without having an understanding of mental illness. It may also appear strange to the parents that their children are suffering, especially if there is a sufficiency in providing for food, clothing, education and more. Others may not be able to empathise with experiences of panic attacks or suicidal ideation.

In addition, it remains at large that the stigma surrounding mental health is not only present in Malaysia, but throughout the world. During an investigation conducted by Farrelly and their colleagues, it was discovered that for those with mental illness, there is a common factor of anticipating discrimination. In turn, this leads to an increased risk of isolation and social marginalisation. Other studies have identified that an individual is more likely to attempt suicide within the first 3 months of the initial diagnosis, possibly feeling hopeless upon discovering their fate. Generally, other effects often follow, such as lowered self-esteem and disengagement from people.

However, it should be clearly stated that there is no shame to experience these conditions and seek help.

Therapy versus Counselling 

Both therapists and counsellors are professionals in the mental health field. They seek to promote mental wellness. Nonetheless, they differ slightly in their function. 

These are some differences to consider:

  • Areas tackled by the professionals
      1. For instance, a therapist works on resolving complicated behaviours, compulsions and thoughts. This would focus on addressing core issues to instigate personal growth and change for the better. As issues can range from complex mental health conditions such as depression, eating disorders, and more, the treatments are often long-term in nature.
      2. A counsellor often looks into situations. They would most likely be on a short-term basis and are not limited to those who are medically diagnosed. They can provide advice and strategies for the patients to resolve their issues. Counsellors work on issues such as career direction, relationships, finance and grief, in order to help their patients to manage their life.
  • Education qualifications
      1. A therapist in Malaysia would require a postgraduate degree in clinical psychology.
      2. A counsellor may have a diploma, an undergraduate degree or a postgraduate one.
  • Working area
      1. Most therapists will be seen in the medical field, such as hospitals, clinics and health centres. They are able to work together with doctors and nurses to check in on a patient’s condition.
      2. Counsellors, on the other hand, are usually found in family-centric services, NGOs and community centres. They are available at schools and universities as well.
  • Treatment methods
      1. A therapist can specialise in certain psychotherapeutic methods. These can range from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and cognitive analytic therapy (CAT). These tend to be formulation-driven and designed to treat certain mental illnesses.
      2. A counsellor is likely to assess current issues and feelings and find ways to manage them. They may not be identified as mental illnesses, but they are just as important to sort out as the effects of stressful situations can impede your life.

Nonetheless, if you are unsure of which mental health professional to approach, it can be helpful to pay a visit to the aforementioned persons in order to get a better idea of what they can provide. You may ask the following questions:

  • What is your approach when dealing with persons with mental or situational distress?
  • What are your charges like?
  • What is the commitment (frequency of appointments) involved?
  • Will insurance cover this?

You may ask any other questions which you may find relevant to your or your loved ones’ situation.

Physical or Virtual Therapy Options

A session with the mental health professional may be conducted in person or online. Thus, you may check out which of the following (a starting list) could suit your needs. These begin at affordable rates, ranging from RM 50 to RM 200 for a session. In some cases, you may appeal for a sliding fee if you are financially challenged.

  • Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA)

Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA) Homage
This is a non-profit voluntary organisation, founded by a group of professionals from the University of Malaya Medical Centre. For those who are not ready to approach a therapist regarding their mental well-being,
the website has online assessments which can be used as a snapshot of one’s state. However, you would be required to talk to a mental health provider for a verified assessment and take the next steps. They include therapy services for individuals, couples, families, children and even peer support. 

Price: RM 50 – RM 120
Options: In-Person (Kuala Lumpur)
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM (Monday – Friday)
Contact: +603 2780 6803 | https://mmha.org.my/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MMHAOfficial/

  • Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association (MIASA)

Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association (MIASA) Homage
This is also
another NGO that was established to promote the importance of mental health and provide support to the public. They are able to provide counselling at an affordable rate, both online and in person. Recognising the importance of mental health wellness, they are also offering free services to persons who belong to the B40 group.

Price: RM 180 – RM 350
Options: Online and In-Person (Petaling Jaya, Selangor)
Opening Hours: 9.30 AM – 6.30 PM (Monday – Friday), 9.30 AM – 1.30 PM (Saturday)
Contact: +603-7932 1409 | https://www.miasa.org.my/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miasamalaysia/

  • Aloe Mind

Aloe Mind Homage
This is an organisation that caters to both online and in-person therapy services. They have an online test for you to get started with. Not only that, Aloe Mind also incorporates helpful articles for your reading and knowledge. More details can be
viewed on their website.

Price: RM 50 – RM 250
Options: Online and In-Person (Kuala Lumpur)
Opening Hours: 10.30 AM – 6 PM (Monday – Saturday)
Contact: +6017 803 8384 | https://www.aloemind.com/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/AloeMind/100067957706832/

    • Thrive Well (previously SOLS Health)

Thrive Well (previously SOLS Health) Homage
This social enterprise is able to conduct its services in BM, English and Mandarin, permitting a wide audience reach. Generally, Thrive Well focuses on extending mental help to the marginalised and needy community. Counselling services are subsidised for certain income groups and students. However, other persons are also welcome to reach out for help. An appointment can be made
via their website or WhatsApp.

Price: RM 50 – RM 500
Options: Online and In-Person (Petaling Jaya, Selangor)
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM (Tuesday – Saturday)
Contact: +6018-900 3247 | https://www.thethrive.center/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wearethrivewell/

  • HumanKind

HumanKind Homage
This is a social enterprise in Kuala Lumpur that envisions a world where each person values themselves and stays connected. They are able to provide mental health support in counselling and expressive arts. Not only that, they have The Buddy Bear project in response to children experiencing emotional distress due to the recent pandemic. You can read more about their mission and work
on their website.

Price: RM 50 – RM 220
Options: Online and In-Person (Kuala Lumpur)
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 9 PM
Contact: https://www.humankind.my/

  • MentCouch Psychology Centre

MentCouch Psychology Centre Homage
MentCouch is a multidisciplinary psychology centre. They are able to provide services for both adults and children. They have
listed the following services that are available, but they can consider something else if needed. These range from general consultation, psychological counselling, expressive arts therapy, mindfulness training and general self-improvement programs.

Price: RM 50 – RM 300
Options: Online and In-Person (Kuala Lumpur)
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 5.30 PM (Monday – Friday), 9 AM – 1.30 PM (Saturday)
Contact: +603-2712 9372 | https://mentcouch.com/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mentcouch

  • SEED Connections

SEED Connections Homage
This organisation has been established to cater to families’ mental health and emotional wellbeing, including children.

Price: RM 50 – RM 400
Options: Online and In-Person (Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur)
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM (Tuesday – Friday), 8.30 AM – 5.30 PM (Saturday)
Contact: +6017-277 6605 | https://seedconnections-psych.com/ | Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/seedconnections

  • Soul Mechanics

Soul Mechanics Homage
Soul Mechanics is a group of registered counsellors. They are able to provide various mental health services as well. They are able to do counselling, art therapy and fitness matters. 

Price: RM 150 – RM 350
Options: Online and In-Person (Petaling Jaya, Selangor)
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM
Contact: +6012-722 9211 | https://soulmechanicstherapy.com/ | Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/soulmechanicstherapy

  • Cara Cara

Cara Cara Homage
This is a collaborative effort between therapists in order to educate, strategise and facilitate people’s mental health needs. They are able to provide individual therapy, couples therapy and psychological assessment.

Price: RM 50 – RM 210
Options: Online and In-Person (Petaling Jaya, Selangor)
Opening Hours: 10 AM – 10 PM
Contact: https://www.caracara.space/ | Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/caracara.space/

  • Soul Space

Soul Space Homage
This is a team of therapists that can carry out various tasks: mental health screening, counselling of persons of all ages and career counselling.

Price: RM 50 – RM 320
Options: Online and In-Person (Petaling Jaya, Selangor)
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 9 PM
Contact: +6011-3310 0993 | https://soulspacetherapy.org/ | Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/soulspacetherapy

  • Agape Counselling Centre Malaysia

Agape Counselling Centre Malaysia Homage
This counselling centre is able to cater to various places throughout Malaysia. Their services include face-to-face, phone, email, and premarital counselling.

Price: RM 80 onward
Options: Online and In-Person (Various Locations: Selangor, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Malacca and Ipoh)
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM (Tuesday – Saturday)
Contact: +6011-6530 9722 | https://www.agape.org.my/ | Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/agapemal/

  • Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM)

Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) Homage
This is a government body that looks into the welfare of society. For the psychology and counselling department, there are various branches available throughout the country. 

Price: RM 50 onward
Options: Online and In-Person (Various Locations: Putrajaya, Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pulau Pinang, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah,Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu and Labuan)
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM (Monday – Friday)
Contact: +603-8323 1656 | https://www.jkm.gov.my/ | Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/myJKMHQ/

This is not an exhaustive list. There are also other options which may be available in your religious institutions, town’s private practices and more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • How do I know if I need therapy?

If your thoughts, feelings or behaviours begin to impact your ability to function in everyday activities in a detrimental manner, this is a sign to seek help. This may show up as a lack of motivation to do anything, suicidal thoughts, constant anxiousness and more.

  • Do I need to be diagnosed with a mental illness before going for therapy?

No, but you can share with your therapist your concerns and symptoms. Then, they will be able to advise you from this point forward. Each therapist differ in their treatment methods.

  • How do I encourage my loved ones to seek therapy?

Start by sharing that you would like them to seek appropriate support. However, this depends on the relationship that you have with the person. You need to approach this tactfully as mental unwellness is still stigmatised. This proposal may affect your loved one negatively despite the best of intentions.

  • How often should I go for therapy?

For the beginning stage, most people are recommended to attend a session once a week. This is due to the continuous effort required to initiate change in a person’s thought process and behaviour.

  • Are medicines necessary for mental illness treatment?

Psychiatric medications do not cure the illness but are able to improve the symptoms drastically. This is often used with psychotherapy, self-care or other treatment methods.

Mental Health Helplines

Mental Health Helplines Malaysia Homage
If you are in need of assistance and are going through mental distress, consider reaching out to the following helplines which are free from charges
(listed in no particular order).

  • Befrienders – a non-profit organisation providing support 24 / 7 via the phone. Details are as follows:

KL: 03-7956 8145 (24 hours)
Ipoh: 05-547 7933 (4 pm to 11 pm)
Penang: 04-281 5161 (3 pm to midnight)
Email: [email protected]

  • Life Line Association Malaysia

They seek to give free consultation services in person, over the phone and through email.
Counselling Hotline: 03-42657995
Email: [email protected]

  • Women’s Aid Organization (WAO)

This organisation provides confidential services to survivors of domestic abuse, rape and other acts of violence.
WAO Hotline: +603 7956 3488
WAO SMS/WhatsApp line, TINA : +6018 988 8058
General Enquiries: 03 7957 5636 / 0636
Email: [email protected]

  • All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)

They are able to provide counselling and legal aid services to survivors of gender-based violence, to both men and women.
Telenita helpline: 03-7877 0224
Email: [email protected]

  • Talian Kasih

This hotline is set up by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry. This line is available 24 hours a day to support psychological support and counselling services.
Helpline: 15999
WhatsApp line: 019-2615999

Take the step to reach out, be it to these helplines or someone you know. It is never too late to start and there is no wrong with seeking support.

References
About the Writer
Katherine Khaw
Katherine is an avid reader, finding joy in halls of words. Aside from the imagination wandering in worlds not here, she enjoys stargazing and gardening. In her heart of hearts, she aspires to be a writer, and to be more than mere dust.
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