Tavistock clinic’s mental health support project for military veterans wins £400,000

10:24 18 May 2012

Simon Burns MP visits the Tavistock clinic to announce £400,000 funding for joint Big White Wall and Tavistock Clinic project. Pictured is Big White Wall CEO Jen Hyatt and  Minister of Health Simon Burns MP.

Simon Burns MP visits the Tavistock clinic to announce £400,000 funding for joint Big White Wall and Tavistock Clinic project. Pictured is Big White Wall CEO Jen Hyatt and Minister of Health Simon Burns MP.


The Department of Health has awarded £400,000 for a ground-breaking mental health project that helps members of the armed forces and is run with a Hampstead clinic.

Health minister Simon Burns announced funding for the project during a visit to The Tavistock Centre in Belsize Lane on Monday (May 14).

The money will be used to offer an online support network and professional counselling to veterans who will be able to remain anonymous if they wish.

The project is a joint venture between the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and the online mental well-being service, Big White Wall, a social media site for people experiencing mental health problems.

Matthew Patrick, Tavistock and Portman trust chief executive, said: “I think it’s terrific. We are all excited about it.

“This is a project which we all believe in, in terms of our commitment to mental health and well-being.”

Big White Wall was set up by social entrepreneur Jenny Hyatt in 2007 after she decided there was “a need for a forum for people to express what they were feeling”.

It provides an anonymous confidential online site for people who are suffering mental health problems – including anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts – and offers peer-to-peer support plus support from trained professionals.

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust became involved in the project in 2008 and jointly developed the site, helping to train and supervise staff.

A government commissioned report into support for service personnel and veterans in 2010 listed Big White Wall among its recommendations and a pilot scheme for veterans to use the site was set up last April.

Some 2,518 members of the armed forces and their families now use Big White Wall, of whom 1,007 are veterans and 881 serving personnel.

Big White Wall founder and CEO Ms Hyatt said: “The armed forces culture is about strength. Its culture is completely opposite to what we do. There’s been a rising awareness of the importance of emotional intelligence, before we end up with tragic issues such as people killing or self-harming themselves.

“On average, 20 to 25 per cent of all those on-line are having suicidal thoughts.”

Nearly half of the veterans on the site have visited a doctor for anxiety and one in three admitted to seeing a counsellor, while roughly a quarter of the serving personnel on the site have visited a doctor or been to a counsellor.

Mr Burns said “It is an extremely positive and beneficial way of breaking down the stigma attached to mental health. Breaking down that barrier is good.”

1 comment

  • Mr Burns said “It is an extremely positive and beneficial way of breaking down the stigma attached to mental health. You attached it, I do not. How do we stop you? Harold A; Maio, retired mental health editor

    Report this comment

    Harold A. Maio

    Friday, May 18, 2012

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 18:54
The Old White Bear pub in Hampstead

Developers who own the derelict Old White Bear pub in Hampstead have been ordered to take down scaffolding at the historic building by the end of the week or face enforcement action by Camden Council.

Tue, 17:41
Tributes have been paid to actor Burt Kwouk

Tributes have been paid to renowned Hampstead actor Burt Kwouk, famous for his role in the Pink Panther films.

Tue, 17:15
Tom Franklin, former chair of the Camden Green Party, pictured with Sian Berry and other supporters outside court

Eight protesters cleared of any wrongdoing for their part in an arms fair protest will not face a retrial after a judge refused an appeal lodged by the Crown.

Tue, 16:18
The Ratclliffe family when Gabriella was one week old

The husband of a West Hampstead mum who has been held for 50 days in Iran without charge has hit out at the government for not doing enough to secure her release.

Tue, 14:04
Heather Brett, with her mother, Nora

A daughter is urging hospitals to prioritise dementia care after her 90-year-old mother had a “traumatic” experience at the Whittington.

Mon, 17:50
Left to Right: Artist Dom Pattinson, Zebra One gallery owner Gabrielle du Plooy, actor  Phil Daniels and Blur's Dave Rowntree with artwork for auction at the Star Boot Sale

A fan has bid £6,500 on an outfit worn by former Spice girl Melanie Chisholm, which was among celebrity cast-offs being sold off at the Star Boot Sale on Sunday.

Mon, 14:44
Barnet and Camden's re-elected Assembly Member Andrew Dismore said the inquiry currently being undertaken by Barnet Councill into the polling day blunder is looking

Barnet and Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore has claimed the inquiry into the mayoral polling day debacle in Barnet is looking “increasingly like a whitewash”.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Mayor of Haringey Councillor Ali Ozbek. Photo: Polly Hancock

Haringey appointed its first mayor of Kurdish Alevi descent at a ceremony boosted with overseas family and the Turkish press on Monday.


There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today