Mental health sites and apps to tide you through this pandemic

Mental health should be treated as seriously as containing the coronavirus.

The Mind Faculty offers a range of psychiatric, psychological, counselling and complementary therapies (Photo: The Mind Faculty)

As the pandemic drags on, an acute state of anguish has caused us to slip slowly into solitude. After months of lockdown, our mental state might oscillate between joyless and aimless, as if the pandemic has left us devoid of promise and purpose. We are not quite depressed, yet not quite hopeful either. This blah feeling now has a name — “languishing” — coined by sociologist Corey Keyes in 2002.

Adam Grant later popularised it in an article he wrote in The New York Times: “Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.”

Psychologists have described “languishing”, which appears to be more common than major depression, to pose an even bigger risk for mental illness because we may not notice our own dulling of delight or the dwindling of our daily motivation. The young may suffer from a gnawing sense that they are losing precious time during their prime years while adults lament at lost economic opportunities, forfeited relationships or, worse, a bleak chance of survival.

We still live in a world in which physical casualties are normalised but mental health is stigmatised. As we head into a post-pandemic reality, it is paramount to remind ourselves of our own values and look for any upsides to regain control of our lives. Remember, there is no shame in reaching out for help.


Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA)

Founded in 1967 by a few staff members of University Malaya Medical Centre, this NGO is made up of a group of trained psychiatrists, psychologists, medical social workers and occupational therapists who manage patients with mental disorders. While educating the public about mental illness such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia through colourful cue cards on social media, MMHA has been offering counselling services to patients as well as caregivers. Volunteers can also sign up for their Mental Health First Aid Course, which comes in handy when confronted with mental health crises such as panic attacks and severe psychotic episodes.

More info here.




The Borak Minda podcast covers a wide range of topics, including ways to overcome the mental health taboo

One of the biggest threats to the well-being of today’s teenagers is not only social isolation but also the pressure to achieve. Instead of doling out advice through the phone, the self-funded Malaysian Youth Mental Health Initiative (MindaKami) seeks to alleviate mental woes among youth through science communication, digital advocacy and creative projects. For example, its podcast “The Borak Minda”, which offers bite-sized tips and information to overcome compulsive disorders and mental health taboo, has gained a massive following among the tech-savvy.

More info here.



The pandemic has created the conditions for a surge in child abuse that could go unchecked. NGOs have reported an uptick in domestic violence, especially among young victims who could not meet their teachers or counsellors who would normally raise concern about their well-being. Humankind’s #TalianBuddyBear (or The Buddy Bear Project) — the only dedicated children’s phone service in Malaysia — has 35 volunteers on standby for distressed children to share their worries and anxieties in a safe space. The free helpline (1 [800] 182 327) operates daily from noon to midnight, with volunteers who can speak Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil.

More info here.


The Mind Faculty

Shifting our work lives indoors this past year has also meant moving much of our lives online. For a significant part of our time, we are either bouncing between video calls with our colleagues or attending virtual conferences at odd hours. The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) under The Mind Faculty is a confidential counselling service offered by employers to their employees to support their mental health from a professional and personal standpoint. The gradations of loss during this pandemic, be it in our home, health or income, have contributed to the absence of security. The EAP steps in to help people deal with long periods of unpredictable stress, amid the exhaustion of having our entire world turned on its head.

More info here.


Cara Cara

Cara Cara is built on the ethos of extending professional help without burning a hole in your pocket. Offering in-person and online therapy sessions from just RM50, the team of counsellors can personalise therapy programmes to help you hash out your emotions. Most of the therapists, who are also queer affirmative, concentrate on personal issues, whether by helping you overcome an adverse childhood trauma, reclaim self-esteem or escape an abusive relationship.

More info here.


For those who feel daunted by the thought of engaging in face-to-face support, these digital channels can offer help privately or anonymously.


Although typing your worries into an app lacks inperson interaction, the therapists at TheHelpTalk aim to answer your queries the way a professional would during a physical counselling session. The app uses a matching service, which pairs you with a counsellor you are comfortable with. Charges are from RM192 a month, with unlimited messaging to your personal therapist.

Available on Android. Download here.


Founded by Joan Low, who has been a mental health caregiver for the past 20 years, this subscription-based app features one-on-one daily coaching with certified mental health professionals. Passionate about “breaking the stigma, but not the bank”, the licensed practitioners at ThoughtFull are also available for private video calls if you prefer face-to-face sessions.

Available on iOS and Android. Download here.


Naluri is still one of the most reliable mobile health platforms out there, and supports patients through prevention and treatment. Promising clinical health improvements in just 16 weeks, Naluri’s multidisciplinary coaching team, from medical advisers to clinical psychologists, keeps you accountable through regular check-ins via asynchronous text and video chat.

Available on iOS and Android. Download here.

This article first appeared on Jul 12, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.

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