by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA
IF you’re feeling suffocated wearing a face mask for more than five minutes, imagine what the healthcare workers go through in their personal protective gear for hours in the fight against COVID-19.
Having to expose themselves to the risk, dealing with the endless number of patients and not being able to meet their family could lead to mental and emotional distress which, if left unchecked, would result in the country losing the soldiers before the battle is over.
Recognising this, C-19 Heroes Support Group, led by Sunil Hasmukharay, President of the Malaysian Association of Professional Trainers and Coaches (MAPTaC), has launched a free 24-hour helpline that offers confidential ear and guidance to those in distress.
He said the idea came up after he had a conversation with a specialist in a government hospital and close friends who were doctors, nurses and pharmacist currently toiling long hours in the hospitals.
“Everyone needs an outlet to vent out their frustration, seek for assurance and a shoulder to cry on. I think COVID-19 has really hit the country in a very different way and prompted a lot of people to look at life differently.
“Our concern is mainly the frontliners who are working tirelessly to contain the COVID-19 infection from escalating further in the country. We want to contribute by giving them the support they need,” he told Bernama when contacted here recently.
Initially, Sunil said he started the helpline with only two coaches including himself. They published two mobile numbers sponsored by REDtone, a Puchong-based telecommunication service provider to test the waters.
The response was overwhelming with a total of 700 calls within a week, he said, adding that 10 per cent of the calls came from private-sector workers who were concerned about their job security and safety as they march on to work despite the movement control order (MCO).
However, he said the majority of the calls with each lasting 5 to 20 minutes came from healthcare workers who are obviously frustrated with some Malaysians who can’t adhere to the MCO.
“They call to seek advice and mostly to vent out their frustrations and issues bothering them. On our part, we listen, we assure and we motivate them.”
The C-19 Heroes Support Group now has 20 professional coaches comprising therapists, medical personal, counsellors, professional trainers & coaches and even a doctor, who are all doing it on a voluntary basis.
The second phase of this initiative will be launched this Friday, to give an opportunity for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Business Owners to have access to Professional Coaches to gain more clarity as their businesses are among the hardest hit with COVID-19 and MCO.
Sunil also expressed his hope that Malaysian would leverage on Social Media and personal networks to spread positivity, care and love in this challenging and testing times.