*UPDATE: distrACT IS NOW LISTED ON THE NEW NHS APPS LIBRARY*
"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)
Why did we create the distrACT app?
People who self-harm need quick and easy access to reliable information to make informed decisions and get the support they need.
But googling questions to do with self-harm and suicide can be time-consuming, frustrating - and sometimes even dangerous
How does the distrACT app work?
The distrACT app gives people who self-harm and may feel suicidal easy and discreet access to information, advice and support - all in one single place, even when offline.
It allows users to:
- manage difficult feelings
- cope with a crisis
- know where to find help and support
What do people say about the app?
"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)
"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 benefits does the app have for users?
Open the app and access relevant, reassuring and reliable information, tips and advice:
- Local support: Find links and up-to-date details of available local support
- About self-harm: Learn about self-harm myths, facts, reasons, dangers, feelings and warning signs
- Self-help: Learn to manage the urge, find out about safer alternatives and develop long-term strategies
- Support: Know where to get help, discover ways to express your feelings to family and health professionals and find reassurance about common concerns
- Chill zone: From art, books, films and music to poems, quotes, stories and videos - get plenty of inspiration and resources to help you manage tough times
- Emergency: Learn about first aid, what to expect when attending A&E and what to do when you feel suicidal
What benefits does the app provide for the NHS?
The app also aims to improve important health outcomes and save precious NHS resources:
- Resilience: enable users to identify problems early, manage their emotions better and become more resilient
- Service use: reduce avoidable A&E (re-)attendances by signposting to appropriate alternative services
- Outcomes: reduce harmful consequences of self-harm and the number of suicides
The distrACT app can be added to the new EMIS Apps Library and so become part of GP social prescribing.
Does the app provide local information?
We can customise the app for local areas and provide links to local support pages for NHS healthcare providers and universities:
Currently only the Bristol area is listed, with Exeter about to be included. We plan to add other UK areas in the future.
Find further information on local customisation here.
Where can I download the app?
The app is FREE to download on the Apple App Store and Google Play:
Who's developed the app?
The app has been developed by a team of UK health professionals together with:
- people with lived experience of self-harm
- experts in self-harm and suicide prevention
- local and national self-harm and suicide prevention charities
Who else was involved?
We worked with a number of partner organisations to develop this app, including:
- 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
Is the app safe?
The app has been developed by practising NHS health professionals and experts in self-harm support in line with our 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.
We were also 'highly commended' for our work on the app in 2018 by Healthwatch England.
How can I find out more?
To learn more or discuss how we can support your organisation please get in touch.