The FREE distrACT app gives people who self-harm and/or feel suicidal discreet access to information and advice, so they can manage difficult feelings, cope with a crisis and find help and support.
Developed with input from doctors, self-harm support organisation and users, and certified by the NHS England Information Standard, the distrACT app allows people to access reliable health information about self-harm on-the-go - 24/7, in total privacy and in one single place.
We've created the distrACT app for the following reasons:
- SUICIDE PREVENTION: Reduce the risk of people taking their own life when they self-harm and/or feel suicidal
- CRISIS SUPPORT: Support people in a crisis - with advice on what to do in an emergency, lists of useful emergency numbers and support sites, and tips on safety planning
- SIGNPOSTING: Guide people to further sources of support that they can trust
- SELF-CARE: Find out how to manage thoughts and feelings and discover safer alternatives to self-harm
- RESILIENCE: Develop skills to recover more quickly and increase your well-being
- ACCESSING HEALTH SERVICES: Help people decide when to access health services and where to go for support
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.
"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."
(L.T., Public Contributor with personal experience of self-harm)
"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)
"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)
What can you find in the app?
Open the app and simply tap on any of the following 6 sections:
- LOCAL INFO: 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
You can also give us anonymous feedback from within the app if you would like to help us improve it further.
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).
Who's behind this app?
Expert Self Care Ltd (the app's developer) is a UK Social Enterprise led by practising medical doctors. We're certified through the NHS England Information Standard as a producer of reliable health information.
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
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)