“…it is probably fair to state that I would not be here now, my wife would be a widow and my two daughters fatherless if it had not been for the support from the BWW staff…”

Stigma and fear of judgement continue to have far reaching effects on people’s ability to seek mental health support. That’s why, on Big White Wall (BWW), every member is completely anonymous. One of their veterans took the time to write in about their mental health journey and why it means so much to have support systems in place.

“Hello there, Big White Wall,

I’m in the process of writing to all the organisations who have helped me (in some circumstances continue to help me), and I’d like to pass on my sincere thanks to Big White Wall and all its staff.

I am in the military and have been suffering with mental illness because of a specific issue for a little over 6 years. Whilst on active duty, I was in a very low place, and it is probably fair to state that I would not be here now, my wife would be a widow and my two daughters fatherless if it had not been for the support from the BWW staff.

It only took an email from your team ‘are you OK? We see you are going through a tough time, we are here if you need us’ which replaced desperation, intense loneliness and feelings of utter worthlessness with a degree of hope to keep me going. I am a little embarrassed to state that I planned my suicide very carefully on several occasions, but your team and the glimmer of hope and company they gave really helped. I also found the bricks helped enormously by capturing (in my case in words) thoughts and in some way binding them.

As part of my recovery, I have also used the courses you provide to great effect and they have helped identify negative habits and ruminations, and reinforce positive habits.

I am sure the work you are doing often appears too great to deal with, and perhaps it is difficult to quantify progress. I also know that those who suffer with mental illness, tend to focus on the negative. Recognising the positives and giving a thank-you often seems incongruous to sufferers. Please would you be assured that in my case, you saved a life. I hazard a guess that even there are thousands similar to me who have been saved and helped by BWW and its team as well, but perhaps do not yet have the capacity to thank.

May I pass on my sincerest thanks for all you do, day in, day out, night in and night out. Your work really matters and it means so much, as it did for me on a number of late nights.”

Having worked with the Armed Forces community for several years, Big White Wall is experienced in supporting this community with a range of issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, family and relationships, alcoholism and bereavement. This also extends to loneliness and related issues in caring for those who have been injured. Big White Wall offers a combination of services, such as Peer Support and Guided Support as well as useful tips and advice. Because everyone is totally anonymous, there is no fear of stigma, and their Wall Guides (trained counsellors) are on hand 24/7, so there is always someone to talk to and every member can feel they are in a safe place. Whether you are feeling down, or having trouble readjusting to civilian life, Big White Wall is there to help you take control and feel better. You can sign up from the comfort of your own home by simply going to www.bigwhitewall.com and clicking ‘Join now’.

Big White Wall is a multi-award winning digital service providing safe, anonymous and 24/7 online support for mental health and wellbeing issues. The service is free for all serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their family members aged 16+.