Reviewer: Kris Garstang, Clinical Psychologist, Life Mind Psychology
Date of review: April 2022
Comments: Calm Harm app is designed for those aged 13–19 years, but it is suitable for anyone over the age of 13 who needs help with tolerating distress including those who self-harm.
Users can learn to ride out urges to self-harm using a variety of different skills and activities. With regular use over time, users may discover which strategies work best for them and learn to replace unhelpful coping strategies with more helpful ones. They will also gather information about their urges to self-harm including what times of the day they are most at risk and which emotions commonly lead to urges to self-harm. All of these benefits may lead to a reduction in self-harming behaviour over time, making it ideal for people who are actively trying to reduce the amount they harm themselves.
Overall, this is a brilliant and practical app that helps people use skills and strategies when they are at their most distressed. All the user has to do is remember to open the app and the app will help you choose what to do to ride out the urge to self-harm. I love that the app is based on DBT Distress Tolerance skills which I have used widely with my clients in the past. I only wish I’d known about this great app earlier. It would have really helped my clients during those times when they were alone with the overwhelming emotions that lead them to turn to self-harm to cope.
NZ relevance: Not adapted for a Māori or Pasifika audience. Helplines not available in the “Need Help” section but can be added by user.
Safety concerns: None, however, as the app is developed for a UK audience, New Zealanders do not have the same access to emergency telephone numbers that UK users do. Users will need to develop their own contacts list to call on when they need help. Once created, this list will appear in the “Need Help” section of the app.
Reviewer: Jeremy Steinberg, GP, RNZCGP
Date of review: September 2019
Comments: This app is most useful for people who self-harm. It gives activity ideas to help with resisting the urge to self-harm. It's an easy-to-use and well-designed app and is developed using some principles of dialectic behaviour therapy (DBT). The app is designed to be used at the time of a self-harm urge, which the aim of “riding the wave” until the urge passes. There are many ideas for activities to do at the time of the urge, as well as a breathing section, and a journal/tracking feature. I think this app would be very helpful for a lot of people.
Safety concerns: None
New Zealand relevance: Relevant