Reviewer: Kris Garstang, Clinical Psychologist, Life Mind Psychology
Date of review: April 2022
Comments: DistrACT app is for young people (17 years and older), with general information and advice about self-harm. Users can get general information and advice about self harm, validation and a feeling of not being alone, as well as useful links and resources to help with self-harm, emergency situations and mental health more generally.
Overall, I do not think that this is the best app for New Zealanders wanting help with self-harm. It is not interactive, apart from through external links, and many people will find it boring to read without interactive exercises to try out.
The written format is possibly less likely to lead to people trying out and practicing useful skills, meaning that they are less likely to be armed with useful strategies at times of unbearable distress.
The other factor that lets it down for New Zealand audiences is that it is designed for use in the UK so that none of the links to help and support can be used by people in other countries. Although this app contains some useful information and links about self-harm, I recommend that people also seek out apps that provide the facility to manage self-harm urges during a crisis or, alternatively, look for local websites with information for crisis support services.
NZ relevance: : Although this app has some useful information and content for New Zealanders, it is not suitable for use at times of crisis. Users may use it successfully at other times to gather resources and information about self harm and managing their risk of suicide.
Safety concerns: Yes. Although this app does contain some useful information and resources related to self-harm and suicidality, it’s UK centred approach will make it frustrating for anyone who tries to use it during crisis ,as many of the contact numbers and links are for UK organisations.
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