It is estimated that around 13% of children and young people try to hurt themselves on purpose at some point between the ages of 11 and 16. But with extreme pressures on the NHS, many are not getting the help they need with 37% of those referred to mental health services being turned away.

This is one of the reasons tens of thousands of young people are turning to digital tools to help them manage their mental health. But where do they start when trying to find an app to help? Which apps do they trust? How do they know the app isn’t going to do more harm than good?

There are 327,000 apps that claim to help us stay healthy or manage our health, but it’s estimated that only 15,000 of these are regularly maintained, secure, clinically safe or have met design standards. Whilst there is a wealth of ‘mental health’ apps on the app store, self-harm is not something that has been tackled by many app designers so there was a big gap in the level of support for those trying to self-manage this issue.

stem4 is a charity with a passion for improving teenage mental health by stemming commonly occurring mental health issues at an early stage. The charity launched its award-winning ‘Calm Harm’ app, developed by Dr Nihara Krause, founder of stem4 and Consultant Clinical Psychologist, to support its work and has seen a positive rate of adoption to date based on the number of downloads.

Keen to increase the profile of the app, stem4 is taking part in an NHS England funded ‘Digital Development Lab’ run by mHabitat to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies in mental health.

As part of this process, a number of improvements and enhancements were identified and stem4 was looking for an agency specialising in digital health solutions to re-design the user interface (UI), personalise the user experience (UX), deliver an analytical model by which to evidence effectiveness and re-build the app with scalability and information governance in mind.