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Updated: Jun 9


Under the leadership of People in Need (PIN), Helvetas Myanmar and Call Me Today are organizing the blue-collar hotline for phone line counseling.


This is the part of the Aye Chan Taw Ein project, initiated by Helvetas Myanmar and People in Need (PIN) and funded by LIFT.


Total of eight counselors are to be assigned for four different telephone hotline. This project aim to facilitate and coping stresses of blue-collar workers residing in Shwe Pyi Tha, who had been suffered from the coronavirus impacts.


This project is the immediate response from Helvetas Myanmar. We expected to outreach to 500 people in total during the project duration of two months.


Followings are being described by People In Need

(Original Link - https://www.clovekvtisni.cz/en/helping-workers-affected-by-covid-19-in-myanmar-6759gp?fbclid=IwAR0XYl7njfJjOeg_4Die6VEH_wBDSIzcEX1zRWwPFvqaSv2pc7kcAxw2OHs)


Psychosocial support for 500 families

The program aims to provide psychosocial support to a group of 500 workers and their families in the industrial district of Shwe Pyi Thar Township. These families can access free counselling services by phone six days a week (every day except Wednesday) for several hours in the afternoon and evenings.

The free, confidential psychosocial counselling sessions are provided by eight qualified mental health professionals. Sessions last one hour and can help callers deal with feelings of depression or anxiety. Callers can remain anonymous, and any data given to the counsellors is kept confidential.

Ma Nyein Nyein Ei, Skills and Migration Development Manager from Helvetas Myanmar, explains: “Workers are facing a variety of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help them deal with this situation, they have to be healthy and maintain their mental well-being. They have led difficult lives, and now they can share their feelings with trustworthy counsellors, who can help them deal with stress and relieve some of their worries and concerns.”

Counselling over the phone can also be helpful for those who are self-isolating due to COVID-19. Ko Kyaw Zin, the founder of Call Me Today, says: “If you are coping with stress or pressure, we are here for you. Call any of our mobile numbers (09885362489, 09782383145, 09985055664, or 09685223055) from 1PM to 4PM or 7PM to 10 PM.”


Online support through Facebook

As part of the counselling program, Call Me Today has also launched a private Facebook group with information about social psychology, counselling, and tips for finding mental health support.

Francesco Melara, Consortium Coordinator for PIN Myanmar, says: “Now, more than ever, there is a need to support workers, and this is one of several services that are currently being provided. The ‘Aye Chan Thaw Ein’ Worker Centers in Shwe Pyi Thar Township are also active and playing an important role in providing career services and paralegal support to workers.

Updated: Jun 9


Call Me Today introduce confidential, digital pen-writing service in recommendation with SLOWLY app, based in Hong Kong. We are innovating traditional pen-friend writing experience in collaboration with SLOWLY.


Clients can write their letter and sending anonymously using SLOWLY for their stress and anxieties. We are welcoming letters written in English and Burmese. This service can be obtained globally who are using SLOWLY.


The recipient name is "LU AYE", a Burmese traditional name, meaning cool and calm guy. There is assigned counselor who is replying for every incoming letter day by day. This project has been started in October 2019.


SLOWLY is the app which is created for those who yearn for yearn for meaningful conversations with people in the era of instant messaging.

Updated: Jun 10

Article by Phoe Wa of the MYANMAR TIMES

Last June the suicide of a librarian who was bullied for being gay raised the thorny issue of sexual harassment in Myanmar workplace. Despite several dismissals and a high-profile resignation, the University rather intensively called the young man "mentally weak".


Through workplace harassment needs to be addressed, an organization called Call Me Today believes that some suicide cases, like Kyaw Zin Win's, could have been prevented if a sympathetic person had been there to listen.


"I feel responsible for [the passing of the librarian]. He didn't know there were people ready to listen to him, who were just a phone call away," said Kyaw Zin, who works for Save In Your Brain Game Academy and founded Call Me Today.

Call Me Today is the first free suicide hotline in Myanmar. People in need are invited to reach out for help during opening hours, on weekdays from 10pm to midnight. The hotline hopes to reduce suicide rates and assist individuals prone to depression.


The initiative was started in June 2018, following the suicide of a student from the MIT University which Ko Kyaw Zin attended at the same time. In his suicide note, the student blamed his loneliness. Ko Kyaw Zin believed the tragic fate of his schoolmate could have been avoid should he had been able to open up to somebody. Thus he started the free hotline for others in need.

"I thought it would be wonderful if a suicidal person could change his mind after talking for one hour with me," said Ko Kyaw Zin.

In the beginning, he created the Call Me Today Facebook page and waited for his first callers. However, his first few calls came from suspicious students believing the page was a fraud.

As the project took off, Call Me Today gained more trust from troubled callers; an average of 6 persons would call the hotline weekly. Most of them were victims of workplace bullying and sexual harassment, but also homesickness and heartbroken students.


Due to the success of the hotline, Ko Kyaw Zin eventually recruited 10 volunteers to take the calls on a rotational basis, extending operating hours.

"I understand and can empathize with what [the callers] feel and I provide comments and advice to them, although I'm still young myself," he said.

The service is free, and the operators keep all information confidential. Ko Kyaw Zin is currently looking to collaborate with other people in Myanmar to develop his hotline. For now, the hotline is only operational two hours at night during weekdays and volunteers do not have any formal training.


"This service would be able to cover the whole country, but I can't do all that on my own. It would be great to deliver the service for more people, even with the help of an organization of company," Ko Kyaw Zin added.

Privacy and rules of engagement


Call Me Today never collects personal information of any sort. However, the third-party operator reserves the right to record conversations and keep track of numbers, according to Ko Kyaw Zin. Call Me Today never discloses callers' information unless required by law.

Callers also do not have access to any details about the volunteers. A volunteer will not hang up the phone prematurely unless asked to do something inappropriate or illegal. Volunteers are not allowed to shout back or use offensive language. Besides these requirements, anyone is welcome to join the team regardless of experience.

"It is very helpful for people like me who have no one to talk to. Call Me Today is my exit," wrote Aung Soe Paing, who called the hotline before, on the project's Facebook Page.

Currently, The Ywar Thar Gyi mental hospital in Yangon offers one-on-one therapy sessions. However, Call Me Today offers free conversations, accessible from anywhere by phone.


"We would like to save lives and we can try to alleviate the pain of people in distress if only they call us," said Ko Kyaw Zin.
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ABOUT US >

Call Me Today is the first Myanmar helpline for emotional and psychosocial counseling. Call Me Today is a nonprofit organization collaborating with NGOs, INGO in various projects, making impacts on mental health.

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