Easy and discreet access to information and support about self-harm and suicidal thoughts through the award-winning distrACT app.
This award-winning app has been created for the health and education sectors by health professionals, experts in self-harm and suicide prevention, and people with lived experience of self-harm.
How does the app benefit users?
With the distrACT app, you can help people better understand urges to self-harm and encourage them to monitor and manage their symptoms. You may also help to reduce the risk of suicide.
The free app contains advice and support information, including:
- emergency contact numbers
- how best to work with healthcare professionals
- safer alternatives to self-harming
In the app's Chill Zone, users can find resources that may help them feel better, including art, books, films, music, poems, quotes, stories and online videos.
How can the app benefit the NHS, universities and other organisations?
The app also aims to improve health outcomes, such as reducing self-harm and preventing suicides, and also aims to save resources.
Your organisation can use the app to:
- increase reach
- provide information discreetly
- save on print and distribution costs
- offer a better user experience
The app also aims to reduce avoidable service use, such as A&E and GP (re-)attendances.
The app can be customised for local areas to signpost local support services and give users more choice about where to go for help.
- Winner, British Medical Association 'Patient Information Award' 2019 (wellbeing)
- Highly commended for the 2018 National Healthwatch England #NHS70 Award
What can users find on the app?
The app contains relevant, reassuring and reliable information, tips and advice:
- Local support: Links and up-to-date details of available local support
- About self-harm: Self-harm myths, facts, reasons, dangers, feelings and warning signs
- Self-help: Managing the urge, finding out about safer alternatives and developing long-term strategies
- Support: Where to get help, ways to express feelings to family and health professionals, reassurance about common concerns
- Chill zone: Links to art, books, films, music, poems, quotes, stories and videos - inspiration and resources to help users manage tough times
- Emergency: First aid, what to expect when attending A&E and what to do when feeling suicidal
Is the app safe?
The app has been developed by practising NHS health professionals and experts in self-harm support in line with robust editorial standards.
It has also been independently assessed:
- Assessed by NHS Digital and listed on the NHS Apps Library
- Certified by the NHS Information Standard
- Reviewed by the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications (ORCHA) and named among their 'Top 3 Apps' in January 2019. Read the review.
Feedback and testimonials
"I'm blown away, it's brilliant. Thank you for helping restore my faith back into human kindness with this non-judgemental app."
User feedback via twitter (direct message)
"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
Partners in developing the app included:
- Bristol Health Partners 'Improving Care in Self-Harm' Health Integration Team
- Self-Injury Support
- 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
Where can I get the app?