Big White Wall Impact Story
While 25 percent of the UK population will experience a mental health issue in a given year, the vast majority—75 percent—will not seek treatment. A major reason for this is the fear of stigma and discrimination. Big White Wall (BWW), launched in 2007 and an Impact Ventures UK investee, alleviates this issue by allowing 24/7 safe and anonymous access to a range of support services, including real-time help from experienced mental health professionals.
One woman, ”Lucy,” first learned about BWW at a conference for families of veterans.* BWW is free to all UK serving personnel, veterans, and their families, thanks to the support of Help for Heroes, the Department of Health and the Ministry of Defence. Lucy’s son had been seriously injured serving in Afghanistan. He returned home, where she promptly became his primary carer.
As she tended to his wounds and basic needs, she describes feeling as if she was falling down a “deep dark hole.”
“I could feel myself going further and further down,” she says. “I was so shocked to realise I was that low. I realised I couldn’t carry on like that.”
According to academic studies, carers are vulnerable to psychological distress, including anxiety, depression and low self-esteem; however, they often do not seek the support they need.
Finding Support, Night or Day
Through BWW, Lucy found the outlet she needed to voice her feelings, and find a community of people who could personally relate to her experiences.
“It was the best thing ever, and it was there night or day.”
For Lucy, the most beneficial part of BWW was the support she received from the BWW community. “Each time I had a down moment, which lasted 2 to 3 weeks, each time, somebody came back. People listened. People understood… If you’ve got nobody to talk to, what do you do?”
Whenever Lucy was struggling, she sought the support of BWW. “It stopped me slipping down,” she recalls. “BWW was there when things were really bad. I will forever be grateful for that. It was a life-saving device.”
* Fictional name to protect the anonymity of BWW members