Big White Wall is passionate about making a difference. We want to provide guidance and resources to make this experience easy and helpful. Please explore our FAQs below so that you can make the Wall your own.
What is Big White Wall?
Big White Wall (BWW) is a digital mental health support service which is available online, 24/7, and is completely anonymous so you can express yourself 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, you will have access to a wealth of useful information and can work through tailored self-help programmes covering topics such as anxiety, sleep, weight management, depression and many more.
What can people do on Big White Wall?
Big White Wall offers a range of activities that allow you to work through what's troubling you.
Be anonymous - access an anonymous community of support available from members 24/7.
Share your thoughts - join a Talkabout alongside fellow members to share and discuss what's on your mind, gain support and advice. You can do this with the whole community or form your own groups or one to one chats.
Assess yourself - take assessments to help you understand more about yourself.
Creative expression - make a Brick to express yourself and your feelings creatively through drawing or by uploading your own images.
Self-improvement - find lots of information in Useful Stuff which helps you understand more about how you are feeling, set goals and track your progress.
Make friends - make friends anonymously so you can give and receive support from others like you.
Take a course - join our Guided Support courses with others to learn how to manage everything from depression and anxiety to weight-management and stopping smoking.
Who is Big White Wall for?
Anyone who is aged 16 and over.
Who can access Big White Wall and how much does it cost?
Big White Wall is freely available through several different means. All service personnel, veterans and their family members can access Big White Wall for free through our partnership with the Ministry of Defence and Help for Heroes. The service is commissioned widely across the UK by the NHS, councils and health insurance providers. You may also be able to freely access Big White Wall through your employer or university.
How do I access Big White Wall from my mobile device?
You can connect with the BWW community wherever and whenever you want from a mobile device simply by visiting our mobile-friendly website at bigwhitewall.com. NB: Our service requires an internet connection and some features, like our Guided Support courses and Live Therapy, should be used on a desktop computer.
For ease of use you may want to create a shortcut to Big White Wall on your mobile device. Please find step by step instructions below.
Launch the Safari browser on Apple’s iOS and navigate to the website or web page you want to add to your home screen. Tap the Share button on the browser’s toolbar — that’s the rectangle with an arrow pointing upward. It’s on the bar at the top of the screen on an iPad, and on the bar at the bottom of the screen on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Tap the Add to Home Screen icon in the Share menu.
You’ll be prompted to name the shortcut before tapping the Add button. The shortcut can be dragged around and placed anywhere, including in app folders — just like a normal app icon.
Launch Chrome for Android and open the website or web page you want to pin to your home screen. Tap the menu button and tap Add to homescreen. You’ll be able to enter a name for the shortcut and then Chrome will add it to your home screen.
The icon will appear on your home screen like any other app shortcut or widget, so you can drag it around and put it wherever you like. Chrome for Android loads the website as a “web app” when you tap the icon, so it will get its own entry in the app switcher and won’t have any browser interface getting in the way.
What are the common issues that brings people to Big White Wall?
Anything that is causing people emotional distress, this can include anxiety, stress, feeling low, depression, feeling out of control and trauma to name a few. All of these may be triggered by life events such as the loss of a loved one, relationship breakdowns, employment related issues, financial crisis, sexuality, isolation, alcohol or drug related problems.
How does abuse of the system get reported? For example, people making inappropriate comments.
We take abuse on our service very seriously. There is a system of watchwords that signal inappropriate behaviour or language use, which are immediately flagged to a Wall Guide.
Secondly, members can report unwanted behaviour through our simple process. Members can click on the 'Report' button on pages of the website to report abuse of the system, this is then escalated to a team member of BWW.
Who are Wall Guides and what do they do?
The BWW community is the main hub of support as individuals share their stories and experiences, engaging in conversations with other members of the community. Our Wall Guides are trained clinicians whose job is to keep our members safe and help them feel they are not alone. They are required to be proactive in responding to BWW members who are in crisis and provide them with support, seek local assistance from their doctor or therapist.
A key requirement of Wall Guides work is to ensure that anonymity of members is maintained and to report any incidence of posts that may assist to reveal the real identity of a member. This requires that all comments, and all images are monitored to ensure that it conforms to BWW House Rules.
Wall Guides are required to model the behaviour that Big White Wall wants members to adopt within the community. This includes being welcoming of new members, exchanging comments that are non-judgemental and respectful as well as encouraging others to express their troubles and provide assurance of a safe space.
How do I create an account?
Once you've received your member code from your health care provider, employer or other supporting agency you are ready to create your account.
Start by clicking the link in your email confirmation or by clicking the 'Join Us' and entering your code and filling out your information.
Note that as you start your page, the more information you choose to add about yourself, your needs and interests the better we'll be able to tailor your BWW to you.
How do I choose my username?
Big White Wall is anonymous. This allows you the freedom to share honestly and openly. When choosing a username and profile pic (this is the image that will appear with or without your username), make sure that no one will be able to identify you from these. For example, avoid pet names, childhood nicknames or names that you may use on other networks or sites.
Wall Guides may change your username if they feel it may give away your identity. If this happens, you will be notified by an email giving you a link to a private Talkabout with a Wall Guide, where you can ask them to change it to something more memorable.
How do I manage my avatar?
On joining you are given a default profile picture, a non-identifying image that is assigned to you and often used with your user name.
You can change your profile picture to an image of your choice by uploading an image file or picture from your desktop. To do this, go to My Home Page, and click 'Edit pic', then browse to go to the image you wish to upload from your computer. Alternatively, you can select from several block colours.
Remember that Big White Wall is anonymous and so profile photos should not identify you in any way.
How do I search the site?
To access the different sections of Big White Wall, click 'Open Menu' on the top left side of every page.
Search for information
For specific advice or support on a certain issue or topic, type one or more keywords in the search box right at the top of the page. A list of related bricks, Talkabouts, and 'Useful Stuff' articles will appear.
Search 'Useful Stuff'
You can search for articles on specific topics by selecting 'Useful Stuff' from the menu on the left side of the page. Here you can browse our information categories on the left by choosing one and clicking on it. You can narrow your search further by clicking on one of the four types of content on the right, depending on whether you are interested in taking an assessment, general information (Understand More), self-help (Moving Forward) or specific self-help exercises (Learn skills).
How do I search for another member?
To find a particular member, select 'Friends' from the menu on the left side of every page, and enter their name in the 'Search friends' box. You can then add the member as a friend or send them a message.
Members you have added as friends and who have accepted your request will display in the 'My Friends' section of your homepage.
How do I explore the Wall?
The Wall is the heart and soul of the site, where you can view each brick, see the latest and most popular bricks in a slideshow or browse the 'Featured Walls' on a specific topic. To explore the Wall:
Click and drag or use the arrows to navigate around the bricks.
To zoom in on a brick that catches your eye, click on it once.
To find out more details about the brick, pause, then click once again and you will be taken to the brick page, where you can view the creator and comments made on the brick.
To go back to the Wall, pause, then double click on the brick.
Or, you can find a blank brick to create yourself.
How do I create a brick?
You can view bricks and create your own by clicking on 'The Wall' in the menu on the top left of the page. Choose a blank brick from the wall, or click the 'Create Brick' button on the top right to open the brick drawing tool. Here you have three ways to express what you want to say.
Upload a photo or image of your choice, ensuring that you or others cannot be identified from it.
Click on the ‘Image’ tab on the left hand menu and pick the picture you would like to upload.
Your picture will now appear on the brick.
If you click on the ‘Select’ option you can make your image smaller, larger or move it to wherever you would like on your brick.
These tools help you to draw words or pictures.
Click on the pencil icon under the 'Drawing ' on the left hand menu.
You can change the colour of the tools and the width of each of them by clicking on the + or - buttons.
Click on the ‘Type’ option on the left hand menu.
You can select your font, size and colour for typing.
Type in the text you want in the box that appears. To change the size of the text use the + and under ‘Tool size’.
To change the size of the text box, click on the grey triangle at the bottom right of the text box and then drag to the desired size.
Double click on the text box and drag to move it around.
To rotate your text in the box, select the text box and spin the green arrow.
If you would like to add something new just repeat the above steps, you will be able to delete the layers you no longer want. That way you don't lose all your hard work if you change your mind about something.
You can now save your brick, which will take you to another page with your brick preview. Here you can:
Give your brick a name.
Type in any text related to the brick. Sometimes it is an explanation of the image, a question and so on. Remember to add topics.
Choose to have the brick either 'Public', so your username will be displayed with the brick, or 'Private', so the brick will be posted as 'Anonymous'. When you reply to a comment on a brick that you have created anonymously your reply also comes up as anonymous.
Decide whether you want people to comment on the brick or not. The 'Allow Comments' box will allow you to choose by ticking or unticking it.
Change the status of your bricks at any time from your account page. For more information on this, go to Your Privacy.
If you are running low on time or inspiration, click on the save button so the brick remains on your account page and you can return to it at a later date.
When you have finished, click on 'Post Brick' to add your brick to those already making up the wall. Enjoy!
How do I gift/share a brick?
You can create a brick and gift it to a friend on Big White Wall.
You can choose to create a brick for them or send a blank brick so that person can use it to let us know how they are feeling.
Click on 'Share this Brick' and enter the member name of the person you wish to share it with.
Unless you choose to enter a message, the brick will be gifted completely anonymously.
Your friend will receive a message from Big White Wall saying a friend has created a brick for them.
How do I start a Talkabout?
Have you got issues or concerns that you want to share with others? Talkabouts (TAs) is the place to do this.
You can view and join an existing conversation by clicking 'Talkabouts' in the menu on the left, then browsing through ongoing TAs.
Or if none of the existing subjects seem to cover what you want to talk about click on the 'Start Talkabout' button and start your own.
Your subject should indicate what the TA will concentrate on. You can start a TA about a subject specific to your situation if you need objective points of view or just an empathetic ear to listen; for example, "Can anybody suggest coping strategies for anxiety?"
If you add topics to the TA in the 'Topics' bar, members who are interested in similar subjects will be more aware of the new TA.
If you feel that the subject or message might be offensive to other members, please tick "This May be Considered to be Offensive".
When you are satisfied with your TA, simply press the 'Post Talkabout' button and you are all set.
You can stay up to date with Talkabouts you are interested or involved in by opening the TA and clicking 'Watch this'. These will then display in 'My Watched Talkabouts'.
Group Talkabout (GTA)
To invite only specific members to participate in the TA, click on the 'Make this a Group Talkabout' button which will give you the option to be viewed by invitees only.
Personal Talkabout (PTA)
To start a Personal Talkabout with a friend:
Go to the member's profile by searching in 'Friends' and clicking on their name.
Click on the 'Send Message' button and the message will be a PTA between you and your friend. PTAs are not viewed by other members, but are still visible to the BWW Team
Find your personal talkabouts by selecting 'Talkabouts' from the menu and clicking on the tab at the top of the page
Personal Talkabout (PTA) with a Wall Guide (WG)
If you have a non-urgent problem or issue you feel unable to share in the community, you can start a PTA with a WG by clicking 'Ask a Wall Guide' at the top right corner of every page. Find your personal talkabouts by selecting 'Talkabouts' from the menu and clicking on the tab at the top of the page.
How do I manage my tags/topics?
Tags or keywords which you add to your bricks and Talkabouts, make it easier for others to find content relevant to them. When others type keywords into the Big White Wall search box, your brick or TA will appear in the search alongside other content with the same tag.
How do I take an assessment?
There are several clinical tests to choose from to help you understand how you are feeling. To take an assessment:
Click on 'Assess yourself' on the menu on the top left of the page.
Choose an assessment from the list.
When the assessment opens, select the appropriate level for each item on the list and press the 'Submit' button.
You will then be given a brief explanation of your score. It may suggest that you are showing signs of high stress and that you should contact your provider. Or it may suggest that your stress levels are currently low.
There will be links to further information that can help you understand what you are experiencing.
You will have the option to retake the assessment if you are not satisfied that you selected the correct options.
After you have taken the assessment, you can read the Useful Stuff resources on the same topic, which can help you to understand further, move forward and test out specific self-help skills.
You can go back and look at your results or take the assessment when your mood feels different. To do this, go to 'Assess Yourself' and click on 'My Previous Assessments'.
How do I join a Guided Support course?
What is Guided Support?
Guided Support is a collection of structured online courses available on Big White Wall. These courses last from 2-6 weeks. When you join a course, you receive an introduction which includes the number of weeks the course will last, the number of sessions per week, and what you can expect to see and do in the course. Each session contains general education about a specific topic or a self-reflection exercise. In most sessions, you will also learn a helpful skill. Each session ends with an activity using the information and skills learned in the day’s session.
Guided Support courses run regularly. If you miss one, you can join it the next time it starts.
How can I join a Guided Support course?
You can choose a course by going to the Guided Support section of Big White Wall, available from your homepage. The Guided Support section will include all current and upcoming courses. Then, just choose the one you’d like to join.
Once the course starts, you will receive a message prompting you to log in to complete the first activity, with a weekly prompt to complete your activities until the course ends.
Can I take more than one course at a time?
There is no limit on the number of Guided Support courses you can join, but we recommend waiting until you have completed one before starting another.
How do I know that Guided Support courses work?
Guided Support courses are based on the most current clinical evidence that has been shown to help people cope with difficult issues or symptoms. Courses are designed to improve your coping skills and promote healthy behaviours. Taking the course with others has been shown to motivate members to complete the courses.
Can I leave a Guided Support course if I want to?
You’re in control of what you do on Big White Wall. You can complete the activities at any time during the week. If you don’t like the course you don’t have to complete it. However, to get the full benefit, it is always best to try to complete it if you can. Some of the skills you learn may not seem helpful now, but may help you with issues that come up later.
How can I get help with Guided Support or ask question?
Ask a Wall Guide if you have any questions about Guided Support.
How do I ask a Wall Guide?
You can talk to a Wall Guide at any time by clicking 'Ask a Wall Guide' on the top right of every page. You can also select 'Ask a Wall Guide' from the menu on the left side of every page. This will open a personal Talkabout between you and the Wall Guide.
How do I manage my profile?
To change your password:
Click on 'Account'.
Type in the current password, new password and confirm new password
Change time zone:
You can change your time zone and other personal data in 'Account'.
Change my mood:
Go to the homepage
Click on 'Change Mood' and choose one of the mood buttons.
To avoid upsetting content:
If you want to filter content to remove anything that might be deemed upsetting or offensive go to 'Account' and tick the 'Safe Filter' box.
If you have other questions or concerns, get in touch with us directly at email@example.com.
How safe is Big White Wall?
BWW has strict rules to ensure your safety.
All new content generated by our members on the site, including Talkabouts and Bricks are monitored 24/7. Specific behaviour on the website will trigger a response by BWW staff (Wall Guides) and an escalation process will be implemented.
Is Big White Wall for all ages?
BWW is only for adults 16 years and over. While we monitor for inappropriate content, our members are free to express their feelings about many issues that would be inappropriate for minors.
How does Big White Wall respond to people who are in danger of harming themselves or others?
Many people dealing with adversity experience suicidal thoughts and/or thoughts of self-harming. Wall Guides respond immediately when alerted to members who are at danger of self-harm by:
- Checking whether they have already acted in a way that is harmful, and strongly encourage them to contact emergency services or their health care provider
- Encouraging the member to talk about what they are feeling and what they think is causing the feelings
- Listening empathetically and being present for the member, making it clear they are not going away
- Checking whether they have anyone with them or close by that they can call to be with them
- Explore whether the member has had self-harming thoughts or behaviors previously and what did they do that helped
- Exploring the type of things they find soothing i.e. music, reading etc.
- Encouraging them to draw on the support of their peers/friends on BWW
- Exploring whether they have sought or would like to see professional help in their local area
- Encouraging the member to keep in touch
- Keeping regular contact with the member to see how they are doing
What are the terms for using Big White Wall?
As a member, you are taking responsibility for your actions and behavior on Big White Wall. The rules below foster every member's ability to access the Wall for support, learning, and recovery in an anonymous and personal manner.
It is important to remember that Big White Wall is a support for, not a replacement of, your life offline.
What can I do to stay safe on Big White Wall?
Big White Wall takes your safety very seriously and we would encourage you to do the same.
- Contact a Wall Guide through the 'Ask a Wall Guide' button if you are concerned about how another member is behaving with you or with other members - do not hesitate, better safe than sorry - Wall Guides will not identify that you have alerted them.
- Do not use real names or identifiable details about you - like where you live, your employer/college, family or friend's names - in the 'My Story' section of 'My Public Profile' or elsewhere.
- Do not upload identifiable photographs of yourself or others onto bricks or avatars.
- Do not share your login details including email and password and username with anyone including those who are and who are not members of Big White Wall such as friends or family.
- If you do not want anyone to know that you are using Big White Wall, access your account through a third party computer in a safe location and create a new email account to which only you know the login details.
- Do not use the real names or identifiable details about other people in your posts and bricks.
- Do not upload pictures of real people onto bricks unless it is possible to fully disguise their identity.
- Do not tell your family or friends or others about being on Big White Wall if you do not want to run the risk of them identifying your posts.
- Do not exchange any personal details including your name, address, email, telephone number, where you live/work/study or bank details with your Big White Wall friends or others on Big White Wall.
- Do not exchange any personal details including your name, address, email, telephone number, where you live/work/study or bank details with Wall Guides or other Big White Wall staff.
- Never agree to meet someone you meet on Big White Wall offline including Wall Guides and other Big White Wall staff. Without wishing to scare you, remember that not everyone portrays themselves online as they are in real life.
What does Big White Wall do to keep the community safe?
Big White Wall takes your safety very seriously and we would encourage you to do the same.
- Trained Wall Guides are present 24/7 to respond to any worries or concerns at all you have about other members behavior on Big White Wall
- Trained Wall Guides are present 24/7 to respond to any worries or concerns at all you have about members being at immediate risk of causing harm to themselves or others
- All content on Big White Wall is read by Wall Guides
- Wall Guides send you a message if they think you have used a real name or other identifying information without realising
- There is an immediate alert system for members using words like suicide, cutting, help or abuse that will get a high priority response from a Wall Guide
- There is an immediate alert system for members scoring themselves as suicidal on a test that will get a high priority response from a Wall Guide
- Wall Guides follow clear policies and procedures for members at risk of harming self or others on Big White Wall and for inappropriate behavior
- Wall Guides do not have access to your email address or registration data which is kept separate from your user name
- Wall Guides and other members of Big White Wall staff are advanced checked for criminal records
- Wall Guides and other Big White staff will never ask you for any personal details including your name, address, email, telephone number, where you live/work/study or bank details unless this is required.
Why is Big White Wall anonymous?
Research has demonstrated that people tend to avoid sharing their troubles with friends, family or healthcare professionals. For example, 50% never go to a doctor for fear of stigma. Men in particular are afraid to reveal how they feel or what's troubling them. Big White Wall provides an environment in which members feel safe and supported while remaining anonymous.
Through our anonymity feature you are free to talk about the things that matter to you without the fear of being judged or someone you know finding out.
When you join BWW, you choose a username so no-one knows who you are. You are then free to talk about the things that matter to you with no fear of being judged or someone you know finding out.
Half of our members say they shared something for the first time on BWW
"It's just a nice, safe community, no one knows me here, so I'm free to talk about things that I wouldn't say to my friends."
If you have other questions or concerns, get in touch with us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What impact does Big White Wall have?
Findings from an independent review of BWW found that:
- 1 in 2 members shared an issue for the first time on BWW
- 80% self-managed their psychological distress
- 67% reported one or more improvements in wellbeing
Other findings included:
- Two thirds of BWW members said they used the site mostly to relieve stress and loneliness
- Half said they used the site to relieve anxiety
- One third cited depression as their main reason for using Big White Wall
- One quarter of users had experienced suicidal feelings
- One fifth were self-harming BWW helped them deal with their feelings.
The majority of BWW users were able to self-manage their mental wellbeing without having to seek further help. Others found BWW a helpful step to, or complementary with, other medical or therapeutic intervention.
What is the science behind Big White Wall?
Research has shown that Big White Wall offers digital services that work. Visit our Clients page to look at research that supports what we do.
What kind of clinical governance is used on Big White Wall?
BWW has developed its clinical methodology framework in partnership with one of the leading mental health organisations in the world, the Tavistock and Portman National Health Service Foundation Trust. In addition, the company employs psychiatrists and physicians who provide continuous updates on evidence-based approaches to providing mental health/chronic condition support services in digital environments. Our science is grounded in models of social health with clinical oversight.
If you have other questions or concerns, get in touch with us directly at email@example.com.
My username is not working
If your username isn't working, please try logging in with your email address. We all forget them sometimes. In rare cases, we may have changed your username if you signed up with one that goes against our anonymity policies. You should have received an email about this, but in case you missed it, be assured that your email address works just as well and check your inbox once you're on the site.
My member code is not working
If you got your code directly from your healthcare professional, employer or university it is important that you start your account by either:
- clicking on the link in your email for your membership code to be entered automatically
- clicking on the 'Join Us' link on top of this page and entering your provider member ID or the code that was handed to you on your instruction page.
If you've not gotten or lost your instruction email please contact your referrer to retrieve your code
I am having issues with my account
If you have a problem with your account that isn't addressed in our FAQ's, please contact our support team - firstname.lastname@example.org
Each member is allowed only one identity or account. Please do not attempt to setup more than one account. If you are found to have more than one account, it will be shut down and you risk suspension on the Wall without warning.
How do I report a problem?
Despite our best efforts, technological issues can occur at any time. As a result the site can go down or errors may occur that result in loss of content or images. Please let us know immediately if you notice anything not working properly or if you have any other concerns not answered by our FAQ's
Email the BWW support team at email@example.com.
We respond to any concerns within a 24h working day.
How do I flag someone I am concerned about?
If you are concerned about a fellow member, click on the 'Report' button under the users name/avatar. This will show up as a flagged item, which will alert the Wall Guides.
For other non-urgent queries or problems please click the 'Ask a Wall Guide' button and describe the issue. Wall Guides will be able to reply to non-urgent queries sooner than the Team.
How do I flag someone acting inappropriately?
If somebody has broken the house rules let us know by clicking the 'Ask a Wall Guide' button at the top right corner of every page, or use the report button to alert the Team.