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Randomised controlled trial of an established direct to public peer support and e-therapy programme (Big White Wall) versus information to aid self-management of depression and anxiety

What we are doing:

The Big White Wall (BWW) is an online e-therapy support programme for people with depression and anxiety in the UK. We want to compare the effectiveness of BWW on users’ wellbeing to information on stress, anxiety and depression provided by the NHS Choices Moodzone website. The reach of the service in terms of who chooses to use this type of support will also be explored.

Why are we doing it:

There has recently been a rise to 1 in 3 people accessing mental health support from 1 in 4. A large number of people are choosing to source their own treatment and management of symptoms so a population approach to mental health support is required.

BWW guides and supports people, helping them to develop their own self-management programmes with anonymity at their own pace. To date there has never been a full evaluation of its reach and effectiveness. 

What the benefits will be:

Peer support can improve depression and anxiety but mainstream social media can create further problems around embarrassment and cyber-bullying. BWW was created to provide a safe online community of peer support, monitored by experienced therapists and trained guides. Exploring such a service will help inform local commissioning groups of its effectiveness and reach.

Who we are working with:

The development and delivery of the study will be in collaboration with a service user consultant, patient and carer representatives and BWW members. Our partners include:

  • Nottingham City CCG
  • Nottinghamshire County CCG
  • Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • University of Nottingham
  • Nottingham City Council
  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • NIHR Mindtech HTC
  • Big White Wall
  • mHealth

Study leads:

Principal Investigator: Professor Richard Morriss

Lead Researcher: Dr Catherine Kaylor-Hughes


Jayne Simpson