2gether NHS Foundation Trust has partnered with award-winning digital support service, Big White Wall, to offer 24/7 support to veterans living in Herefordshire.
Big White Wall provides a supportive, anonymous online community where members can share experiences and get support, whatever they are going through. There is a library of information and clinical tests. Veterans can also join online courses especially designed for the Armed Forces community, covering everything from depression, stress and anxiety to decreasing drinking or getting a better night’s sleep. Wall guides are available 24/7 to offer support and keep the community safe.
Veterans can join Big White Wall for free, simply by going to www.bigwhitewall.com and selecting the Armed Forces community sign up option. The service is also available, at no cost, for serving personnel and their families, aged 16 and over.
Nine-tenths of Big White Wall’s Armed Forces community members report that shame, embarrassment and mental health stigma have previously prevented them from seeking help for mental health problems.
The online intervention of Big White Wall can support people to have important mental health conversations without an additional fear of experiencing stigma veterans due to the stigma around mental health issues.
BWW has a number of armed forces supporters, including Help for Heroes, NHS England and the Ministry of Defence.
Professor Jane Melton, Director of Engagement and Integration for ²gether, said: “Big White Wall has been well-used in other areas of the country, so we’re pleased to be helping launch this very valuable resource in Herefordshire.
“We understand how hard it can be for veterans to talk about their emotional wellbeing and mental health and believe the anonymous and supportive nature of the BWW online community will help overcome these barriers.
“We also hope it will remove some of the stigma around mental health issues, and allow veterans to share their thoughts and feelings, as well as providing them with information and access to further advice and support.”
The service is anonymous, so people can share what’s on their mind without fear of judgment. This helps people to open up: fifty-six per cent of Armed Forces members reported that they had shared an issue or feelings for the first time on Big White Wall.
In addition, it’s available 24/7 so people can get help at any time, day or night. Sixty-eight per cent of logins by veterans to Big White Wall are outside office hours, when other services may be less readily available.
James de Bathe, Commercial Director, BWW, said: “We’re proud to be working with our partners at ²gether to promote 24/7 mental health support to veterans in Herefordshire. Offering veterans a digital option means they can get support anytime, 24/7, and access help easily from home or on the move.”
One veteran who used Big White Wall commented: “I found BWW a constant help. Depression and PTSD is a really lonely place. [Big White Wall] allows me to express my feelings fully without fear of condemnation. I can display my feelings knowing that I won’t be judged.”
Big White Wall Herefordshire will go live on 19 May and can be accessed at www.²gether.nhs.uk/bww