"Self-harm often occurs at times of great psychological distress, so it's nice to see that there is help out there in the form of this new app. I like that it's sensitive, easy to navigate, and promotes emotional wellbeing no matter where you are in your journey."
The (L.T., Public Contributor with personal experience of self-harm)
The FREE distrACT app gives people who self-harm and may feel suicidal quick, easy and discreet access to information and advice, so they can manage difficult feelings, cope with a crisis and find help and support.
About 1 in 7 young people in the UK say they've harmed themselves at some point, and people who self-harm are 35 times more likely to end their own lives.
The distrACT app allows people to access reliable health information about self-harm on-the-go - 24/7, in the privacy of their mobile phone and in one single place.
How is the app useful?
If you self-harm and perhaps feel suicidal, the distrACT app provides you with all the information you need to understand self-harm better, manage it more safely, and know how to get help and support when you need it:
- Manage suicidal thoughts: Reduce your risk of taking your own life when you self-harm and feel suicidal
- Get support: Find help in a crisis - find advice on what to do in an emergency, lists of useful emergency numbers and support sites, and tips on safety planning
- Signposting: The apps guides you to further sources of support that you can trust - all in one place
- Self-care: Find out how to manage thoughts and feelings and discover safer alternatives to self-harm
- Build personal resilience: Develop skills to recover more quickly and increase your well-being
- Access health services: Helps you decide when to access health services and where to go for support
"I think the app can help people to understand why they're using self-injury and then they're better equipped to talk to someone in 'real life'. It's something that's discreet, private and you can access at any time and that's what people who contact our services tell us they want."
(Naomi Salisbury, Director of UK charity Self-Injury Support)
How does it work?
If you self-harm and are looking for answers to your questions, open the app and find six tabs on the home page:
- Local support: Access links to local sources of support (currently this service is only available for the Bristol area, and we hope to expand to other areas)
- About self-harm: Check out what self-harm is, why people self-harm, and how to spot the warning signs
- Self-help: Learn how to identify your needs, manage the urge to self-harm and use safer alternatives
- Support: Find out about how to get support, where to go for further help, and what to say
- Chill zone: Discover new resources that may help you feel better when you're struggling or feeling tense, including art, books, films, music, poems, quotes, stories and online videos
- Emergency: Know what to do in an emergency, how to access help and how best to work together with health professionals
"The distrACT app is a safe alternative to put in people's hands. So if they're thinking about self-harm or have self-harmed they can have a resource at their fingertips"
(Dr Dominique Thompson, Student Mental Health Expert and GP
Can I trust the app?
The app has been developed by a large team of NHS health professionals, experts in self-harm and suicide prevention, local and nationals charities and people with lived experience of self-harm. We want you to feel safe using and recommending it to others:
- NHS Information Standard certified
- regularly reviewed and updated
- currently undergoing assessment for inclusion in the NHS Apps Library
Partner organisations involved in creating this app
Partner organisations involved in developing this app include:
- Bristol Health Partners 'Improving Care in Self-Harm' Health Integration Team
- Self-Injury Support
- Self-Injury Self Help
- University of Bristol
- University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
- Buzz Consulting
- Charlie Waller Memorial Trust
- Connecting With People
- Innovating Minds
- The Students' Union at University of West of England Mental Health Campaign
Customisation and local information
We can customise the app for local areas and provide links to local support pages (see screenshots below) for NHS healthcare providers and universities. Please contact us for details.
The distrACT app has been reviewed by the Organisation for the Review of Health and Care Application (ORCHA) and received a score of 80%.
It was named as among the 'Top 3 Apps' for January 2019 (watch the video - about 1 min 10 sec in).
How the media covered the distrACT app:
- BBC website (25 Nov 2017)
- BBC Radio Bristol (25 Nov 2017, Phil Hammond show - listen in on BBC iPlayer, starting at about 11 mins in)
- Bristol Post (21 Nov 2017)
- MedicalXpress (7 Dec 2017)
- BCfm radio (12 Dec 2017, starting about 37 mins in)
- Education Today (Dec 2017 edition, p.10)
- Bristol 24/7 (18 Dec 2017)
Download the app
Get in touch
For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Knut on 0117 9243965.