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Myanmar’s Anonymous Listeners Are Shedding Light On Mental Health Awareness

By Kyaw Zin

· Asia,Health,Technology,Startup

On June 2018, a young man in Myanmar read a tragic news about suicide on social media. He realized he wanted to start a mission of reducing the country’s suicide rates. He hoped that raising awareness and talking about mental health can help solve bigger problems. He eventually started Call Me Today-- a phone service that is responsible for listening to a caller to reduce his or her stress levels. The service acts as a listener on the other line. Such service is the first of its kind in Myanmar. The startup currently has 20 listeners waiting to give support to callers.

“This initiative has a potential for growth in this country. No one seems to care about mental health. I am glad to be able to help my community in this way,” the founder, who chose to remain anonymous, shared. According to him, most callers are aged 16 to 22 and often talk about social issues.

The struggles are real

For the founder, a big problem they had to face was introducing the concept of talking about mental illness to people. “This is really new for people in Myanmar. They are afraid of talking about this in public.” The startup continues to keep their callers’ identities anonymous as they want to build their clients’ trust for their brand.

Another problem they are facing is the lack of an operator hotline. There are times when they are unable to serve a large number of callers as they cannot hold as high traffic as operators do.

The founder chose to remain anonymous to the public as he said he knows friends who love calling the service. Revealing his identity might make them feel insecure. Putting their customers at the center of their service, the company ensures that every person working for them remains anonymous to this day. They believe that a struggling person might not fully express his emotions and loneliness if he is aware of the identity of the person listening to him.

One downside of remaining anonymous however, is that, there are people who will think that the service is fake. Call Me Today is continuing to break this stereotype by ensuring their callers that they are a trusted brand.

The future

When Diinsider asked him about his plans for the future, the founder said, “I am hoping to raise public awareness first. I also plan to propose partnerships with mobile operators to further cater to a larger audience. I also aim to collaborate with companies who offer psychology-related services to further improve our own mental health services. In the long run, I believe this initiative cannot be done alone and should eventually be practiced on a larger scale.”

In the future, people will likely have a bigger chance of acquiring mental illnesses. This is the time to promote mental health and Call Me Today is doing just that.

Learn more about Call Me Today

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