Big White Wall
We chatted with Harriet Ekperigin, Senior Business Lead at the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) about a new digital mental health support called Big White Wall.
Big White Wall (BWW) – bigwhitewall.ca — is available online, 24/7, and is completely anonymous so users can express themselves freely and openly. Professionally trained Wall Guides monitor the community to ensure the safety and anonymity of all members. In addition to BWW’s online community, users have access to a wealth of useful information and can work through tailored self-help programs covering topics such as anxiety, sleep, weight management, depression and many more.
The service, free to Ontarians thanks to government funding, was chosen based off its substantial success in the United Kingdom, where it originates, and piloted in Ontario. BWW reports positive outcomes from member surveys with % reporting improved wellbeing, for 48% of members BWW was their first step in accessing mental health support, outside of professional intervention, and 1 in 2 members share an issue for the first time on BWW.
Currently available only in Ontario, through OTN, BWW has also been active in New Zealand and in the U.S. The Ontario BWW registration process is tailored for the Canadian market.
“We are really excited with how much impact BWW has had and the fantastic response we have received from those using it,” said Harriet. “Our goal is to continue to raise awareness of this tool, which people can register for without a referral, and expand its reach to as many people as possible.”
Harriet and OTN are not the only ones with good things to say about the service. Multiple testimonies on the website provide potential users with a glowing report and endorsement of BWW along with its benefits.
“I discovered Big White Wall at just the right time, I’m a depressive but have found so much help, the invaluable support of the wall guides, the chance to try and use my personal ‘bricks’ to put my thoughts and feelings into substance. I would rate the site highly every time.” – Anonymous User
You can expect to hear more about this service when BWW starts their direct to student campaign in the fall. The organization hopes to have a presence at student orientation to distribute materials and answer questions directly from students.
Students can also go directly to www.bigwhitewall.ca to get more information and self-register to use the service.