War veterans and their families are to be offered greater help with their mental wellbeing, it has been announced.

Health minister Simon Burns announced £400,000 of funding for an initiative by award-winning mental health website Big White Wall, which provides confidential online therapy.

The Help for Heroes charity has also donated £300,000 to the new programme which will see the Armed Forces community receive free unlimited access to Big White Wall’s online services - where they can discuss post-traumatic stress disorder, addictions, disability and injury, anxiety and depression.

Discussions are carried out anonymously in forums with peers as well as with specially trained counsellors who can offer immediate support.

Mr Burns said: “We understand that many veterans feel a stigma attached to seeking help for mental distress.

“That is why initiatives like the Big White Wall are so invaluable, allowing veterans and their families to talk to others in an anonymous yet interactive space.

“The Department of Health is proud to announce that the Big White Wall will receive £400,000 over the next three years, allowing more veterans to benefit from the support provided by this wellbeing network and its professional counsellors.

“It is by funding services such as the Big White Wall that are easily accessible and trustworthy that we can create an environment in which members of the Armed Forces community feel understood and can take important steps towards recovery.”