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Big White Wall

The UK’s first online care pathway for mental health and wellbeing

ID5: Distribute the Product

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Executive Summary

BWW is part of the vanguard for transforming mental health services in the UK. It offers the first online pathway for mental health and wellbeing which places people at the centre of their own care. It also uniquely re-imagines the role of clinician from ‘expert’ to ‘coach’. Its widespread adoption is enabling people to access well-governed and safe therapeutic services through self-referral from the comfort of their own homes.

Quick Detail

Innovation Owner:
Joly Babu
Development stage:
ID5: Distribute the Product

Project Detail

One in four people will experience a common mental health problem during their lives. According to the report Mental Health Promotion and Mental Illness Prevention; the Economic Case (published in April 2011 by the Department of Health, the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the LSE, the Centre for the Economics of Mental Health and Centre for Mental Health) mental ill health is the largest single cause of disability in the UK, contributing almost 23% of the overall burden of disease compared to 16% each for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Currently, only 25% of those experiencing common mental health conditions receive any form of treatment; which is most commonly anti-depressants. The economic and social costs of mental health problems in England, from the report above, are estimated to be £105 billion each year. As technology enables early intervention it offers, alongside other invest to save initiatives such as suicide training for GPs (saving £44 for every pound invested), an opportunity to reduce the economic burden of deteriorating mental health.

Online LiveTherapy offers an opportunity to increase access to those who are not receiving any kind of treatment whilst reducing waiting times for others who have been referred for psychological therapies.

BWW identified the need to develop synchronous online therapies (LiveTherapy) as a result of demand from its community of 8000 people (who either self refer or are referred by GPs, primary mental health care agencies, third sector providers, etc).

LiveTherapy works within the clinical governance framework of TPFT and enables live text, audio and visual therapeutic support for people experiencing psychological distress via referral from IAPT providers as well as directly by GPs (who currently represent 50% of all referrals to BWW).

Members (patients) choose from BWW therapists who have appropriate accreditation and at least five years experience. Members simply select a therapist of their choice from profiles of approved therapists on BWW and then propose a date/time that suits them for one or more sessions.  All therapies are NICE approved treatments for anxiety and depression - CBT, IPT, DIT, person-centred counselling, and integrative counselling.

Members complete standard clinical tests on BWW (PHQ9 or GAD7) prior to their sessions, to identify and manage risk. At the end of the session, the therapist makes a record of the session, which the patient is invited to contribute to. Members can choose to electronically share aspects of these records with third parties such as their GPs. This service is predicted to significantly impact both waiting times and improved access to Steps 1-3 of NICE recommended treatments for anxiety and depression.

Members are given the opportunity to rate the therapist on the Johnson, Miller and Duncan scale. The ratings are made public and appear openly on therapists’ BWW profiles.  This will help others assess which therapists they would find most helpful.


Key Facts


  • Patient experience
  • Operational costs

Healthcare Areas

  • Mental Health

Health Problems

  • Psychological disorders


  • Domestic