The Calm Harm App, designed and developed by HMA for teenage mental health charity stem4 was created to help teenagers resist or manage the urge to self-harm.

The app, which was named ‘Best App’ at the Northern Digital Awards earlier this month, reached 500,000 downloads worldwide earlier this month and has received a wealth of praise as to its effectiveness as a result. It has appeared in the top 50 Health and Wellbeing apps on iOS and Google Play in both the UK and US as well as being labelled one of the ‘must-have apps’ for New Yorkers in the US.

Following a robust technical assessment process in Summer 2017, the redeveloped app was published on the NHS Digital Apps Library which was created to bring together a number of digital tools for patients’ health and care. Calm Harm is currently one of only 13 mental health apps featured on the library and with this exposure, the number of downloads increased exponentially as a result.

However, it was following a tweet that went viral over the Christmas period that the number of downloads exploded reaching large audiences in the US and mainland Europe.

Dr Nihara Krause, founder of stem4 and Consultant Clinical Psychologist commented “With over 18,000 children and young people admitted to hospital or treated at A&Es for self-harm in 2015/16*, it’s vital that we do everything possible to address the problem early which is why we created Calm Harm.

“Calm Harm is based on the principles of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) – a type of talking therapy that’s often effective in people with mood disorders and whilst it’s not a replacement for professional treatment, our aim is to make this as accessible as possible to a wide range of people, particularly those hard to reach individuals that perhaps haven’t yet sought help.”

Nicola Tiffany, managing director at HMA added “This has been a fantastic project to work on. Working closely with the potential audience for this app to co-design the user interface was invaluable to the process and has resulted in an app we’re all very proud of. The app has now been downloaded over half a million times and as a result, we’ve received some great reviews which is a good indication that it is regularly helping those battling with mental health problems that lead to self-harm.”

* Source: NSPCC, December 2016