Young people in West Dunbartonshire will now have access to round-the-clock, free online mental health support funded by the council.

An online resource called "Big White Wall" (BWW) offers people aged 16 to 24 help and support 24/7 from trained professionals.

Anyone who may be struggling can get access to a choice of safe therapeutic services, including online self-help courses, at a time that suits them and from the comfort of their own home.

Big White Wall has already helped more than 200,000 people, including people working in the NHS, universities and colleges.

Councillor Karen Conaghan, convener of educational services, said the council was delighted to work in partnership with the BWW.

She said: "Our aim is to ensure our children and families are happy, healthy and safe and have access to the right support at the right time when they need it.

"Never before have services like these been so important and I would urge any young person who needs support to visit the Big White Wall website.

"In addition for families with school aged children wellbeing support and advice can be accessed through our educational psychology team which is continuing to operate during this time.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, vice convener of educational services, said BWW would be a welcomed addition to the existing mental health services already available in West Dunbartonshire.

He added: "It is really important we stop the stigma around discussing mental health and we support families when it comes to taking that first step to talk about mental health.

"The message is clear, supports are readily available if you need them and I would encourage anyone to seek help if they are struggling with their mental health.”

One service user said BWW had provided fantastic support, adding: "You are not judged, and you can be yourself. Most of us are very good at hiding our feelings. This is the only place I have felt comfortable in expressing myself.”

Another service user, who had been working in a stressful environment, said: “I was always the strong one, but when I was signed off with work-related stress, I thought I was a failure.

"On logging in to Big White Wall, I wasn’t alone anymore. I’ve been using it for a year now, and I’m recovering and back at work.

"I’m truly grateful for Big White Wall.”

When a new member joins they create a username, which does not identify them in any way as the service is completely anonymous.