CMHA Waterloo Wellington (through Here 24/7) is launching Big White Wall (BWW) to offer support to Waterloo Wellington residents outside of a clinical setting. Open to anyone aged 16 years and older, BWW provides safe, anonymous, online support at all hours of the day, with a supportive community, information and self-help resources, and trained counsellors online at all times.
“We’re excited about using the power of the Internet to make mental health support and treatment more readily available to the people of Waterloo Wellington,” says Fred Wagner, Executive Director of CMHA WW.
“Rather than waiting until they see a professional, people will be able to acquire tools and techniques over the Internet that help them manage their depression or anxiety immediately.”
The non-crisis service is designed to help residents get support, take control, and feel better – no matter where they are. BWW provides 24/7 peer and professional support (with trained counsellors online at all times), plus a range of wellbeing tools to help people self-manage – from guided therapeutic groups to self-directed workshops. This service is safe and anonymous, offering users the security to work on recovery in a private, discreet setting.
“Big White Wall is an amazing online platform and a great compliment to what is available locally in Waterloo Wellington for people already connected to services, as well as support for people waiting to be connected,” says Helen Fishburn, Senior Director of Services at CMHA WW.
Originally from the United Kingdom, BWW has been implemented in both Australia and New Zealand. 70% of members report feeling better as a result of joining BWW, and one in two shared something about themselves for the first time.
“It’s great here to just say what you feel and think without judgement,” one user commented. “That’s helped me loads as I’ve always kept a brave face for the last few years with my depression and anxiety. It’s great to be among people who know exactly how you feel!”
“This will provide another opportunity for people to engage with supports anywhere at any time.”
CMHA WW will be able to offer BWW to individuals contacting Here 24/7 for services, based on availability and fit. For individuals who may feel more comfortable working on their recovery in an online setting, BWW expands CMHA WW’s capacity to support people where they are.
“It’s a huge leap forward to be able to provide people with access to cognitive behavioural therapy and other self-help tools as soon as they ask for help,” says Wagner. “Rather than waiting until they see a professional, people will be able to acquire tools and techniques over the Internet that help them manage their depression or anxiety immediately.”
“This will provide another opportunity for people to engage with supports anywhere at any time,” adds Fishburn.
About the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington
CMHA WW is Canada’s largest CMHA chapter and provides a full care system for those with addictions, mental health, or developmental needs. CMHA WW serves everyone from children to adults to seniors, all under one roof. It is also the lead partner in Here 24/7, the single access point to the entire mental health, addictions, and crisis sector in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.