Online mental health support launches for young people in Bury

It’s estimated that 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression. 

Young people from Bury going through a tough time or who need someone to talk to will soon be able to access anonymous online support for free through the digital mental health service known as Big White Wall.

The free online service will be available from June 2016 to all young people from Bury aged 16 to 25.

Big White Wall provides a supportive, anonymous online community where members can share experiences and express themselves in words and images which members create themselves in the form of ‘bricks’.  There is also a library of articles, tips and courses accessible online via Big White Wall and trained counsellors are available 24/7 to offer support and keep the community safe.

Funded by NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) initially for 12 months, Big White Wall is completely anonymous, and members create a user name which does not identify them in any way. This can help reduce stigma and encourage young people to open up. In fact, just under half of young people using Big White Wall (from other areas) reported sharing an issue troubling them for the first time.

Dr. Jeff Schryer, local GP and Mental Health Lead for NHS Bury CCG said: “This is a really exciting initiative that we were keen to get on board with after seeing its success in another area.  Traditionally mental health and wellbeing guidance and support has been provided face to face.  Big White Wall aims to complement this by providing an anonymous online forum, where it is safe to share thoughts, feelings and views with other young people with trained wall guides available 24/7 to keep the online community safe." 

"I’m sure this online option will prove popular with the younger generation and provide them with a positive outlet to share the way they feel and in turn helping them start to take control and get the support they need to feel better.”

Young people from Bury can join Big White Wall for free from 1st June by entering their postcode at www.bigwhitewall.com

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Date: 23rd May 2016

FOR PRESS & MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
 contact Carrie Dearden, Communications and Engagement Manager 
buccg.communications@nhs.net

Notes to Editors:

1. Big White Wall is an anonymous online community of people who are experiencing common mental health and wellbeing problems such as feeling down, depressed, anxious or stressed. Trained counsellors are on hand at all times to moderate and facilitate the service.

Big White Wall has reached over 40,000 people to date and is commissioned by the NHS, the Ministry of Defence, Help for Heroes, universities and employers to reach thousands more. It was founded in 2007, and now operates across the UK, as well as in the US and New Zealand.

2. Big White Wall's awards include: Digital Entrepreneur Awards 2015, winner – technical innovation within the public sector; eHealth Innovation Awards 2015, winner – healthcare IT product innovation; HSJ Awards 2015, finalist, Innovation in mental health; GO Awards, finalist, Best service – health and social care organisations; GO Awards Scotland, Highly commended – Best service; NHS High Impact Innovation: Digital First; Best EU eHealth Solution 2014; Nominet Trust - 100 Most inspiring social tech ventures in the world, 2013.

Jen Hyatt (BWW Founder)’s awards include: Women in IT awards Innovator of the Year 2016; Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2015; WCIT Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2015; Winner, NatWest everywoman awards 2015 (Iris category); Winner, Red Woman of the Year 2015 (digital category); Named amongst the HSJ’s top 50 innovators in healthcare, 2013 and 2014; NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards – finalist, social entrepreneur of the year. 

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