In the middle of this Covid-19 pandemic, social enterprise HumanKind launched a helpline specifically for children. The helpline offers a place for children to talk about their worries and concerns. It is focused on helping children with their mental health.
HumanKind just recently set-up The Buddy Bear Line. They are an organization that aims to help vulnerable communities with their mental health issues.
The organization was first established in 2016, they identify, train, equip, and support volunteers from the community to deliver evidence-based interventions. A lot of HumanKind’s projects are done in schools as it will also be accessible for lower-income children.
The Buddy Bear Line will give children the opportunity to talk with professionally trained volunteers regarding their emotional or social issues. During the movement control order, children were facing high levels of stress and are unable to get help.
Yahoo News reported, the founder of HumanKind, Pam Guneratnam said that the best way to deliver help to children is to create a phone service so that they can call and express their thoughts. She also mentioned that the Buddy Bear Line has been operating since April but on a smaller scale.
When asked about what are the problems that children faced, Pam said that they received calls from children for a variety of reasons. She said that some called because they were lonely at home and some even expressed their concern for family members who were depressed.
“The wonderful aspect of the helpline is that the child is able to recognize that something is not right and is seeking help for themselves which is a healthy response.”
“This is empowering and promotes self-efficacy as compared to them being forced to see the counsellor, teacher, or a doctor.”
Pam said that communicating with children is different compared to adults. This is due to factors such as varying maturity levels as well as different problem-solving abilities.
She also mentioned that the volunteers under HumanKind are trained in Psychological First Aid (PFA). It is an evidence-based intervention that is implemented in crisis and pandemics.
PFA is aimed to provide psychological support to a person in distress by applying active listening skills, assessing the immediate needs of the person, and providing solutions as well as linking them to where they can get help.
Pam says that Buddy Bear can be considered a trusted space for children when they need a safe person to express their worries. Their volunteers are supervised by registered mental health professionals. These people are committed to providing a responsible and ethical phone line for children.
The Buddy Bear helpline operates seven days a week, from noon until midnight. Their volunteers are also able to communicate in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil.
Children can call: 1-800-18-2327
You can also visit their Facebook page at Buddy Bear Childline.
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