Technology is becoming more and more accessible to young people and we have seen a huge rise in online support forums especially for people struggling with self-harm. Now whilst I don’t think long term therapy happens in these settings it can be good starting point to allow people to talk about what is happening for them.

Stem4 are a teenage charity supporting young people with mental ill health and they have released an app called Calm Harm that provides tasks to help them delay their self-harm. This was great news to us at SelfharmUK HQ because anything that distracts people from wanting to harm is needed and always welcomed.

A couple of days ago I downloaded the app and decided to try it out, there are some excellent qualities to this app it is split up into six sections, these are;

  1. Comfort
  2. Distract
  3. Express Yourself
  4. Release
  5. Random
  6. Breathe

When you click on one of the sections the app asks you to pick either a five or fifteen-minute activity. When you click on the activity it outlines something you can do for those five or fifteen minutes. Once you have completed the activity there is a small three question survey to fill in that logs why you felt the need to harm.  I will evaluate it now with some pros and cons.

Pros

  • It is very simple to download, use and login to
  • The set-up of the app is incredibly quick and ‘fuss’ free
  • It is very astatically pleasing
  • The ‘breathe’ section is the best of the six – this is because it allows the user to see a bubble as they focus on their breathing techniques and is often a welcome break to the noise and fuss around you

Cons

  • The activity part of the app is in my opinion too simplistic, it suggests an activity for example “list as many male pop stars as you can” and then a timer appears on the screen. This became infuriating for me and whilst I was not needing to Self-Harm and have never had those urges, this was something that may be frustrating for others
  • The suggestions need an activity alongside it – this links to the above point, but if users had the opportunity to engage in an activity, for example if there was a section to list the male celebrities as you thought of them, rather than just a time counting down the minutes it may feel more robust in delaying people’s harm.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the app, you can download it via your App or Google Play Store by searching Calm Harm. Let us know what you think of it and we really hope in some way it helps you in your recovery.

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