2 Nov 2012

Health board launches online mental health network

9:56 am on 2 November 2012

Aucklanders with mental health needs are now able to seek help online via a service launched by the Auckland District Health Board.

The service, called the Big White Wall, offers peer support and information and was launched on Friday.

It began in Britain where issues raised include relationship difficulties, domestic violence, sexual abuse, financial worries, and drug and alcohol use.

In New Zealand, the service is initially available to Auckland users, who give a postcode when they go online and will be able to express their views on the wall anonymously.

The health board says the Big White Wall is aimed at people in its district over the age of 16, and the ease and anonymity it provides will suit many people.

Trained counsellors, known as wall guides, based in Auckland and Britain will monitor users around the clock.

The manager of the Changing Minds group, Tina Helm, says it provides a safer and more supportive environment than posting similar views on a personal Facebook wall.

The board says the secure service, which will cost it $165,000 a year, could be available beyond Auckland at some stage.