Mobile Apps Tackle The Issue of Self Harm

Mobile apps come in many shapes and forms. Most are developed for educational, creational, business and entertainment use. However, there are a growing number of apps that have far-reaching implications outside of the realm of technology. One such app is Calm Halm. Launched in 2016 and rebranded in July last year, Calm Halm is small, reliable app that helps people resist the urge to self harm

Self injury is disturbing phenomenon in vulnerable people across the globe. Mainly seen in developing countries, the phenomenon arises from untreated depression and other mental health issues. Left unchecked, this can lead to an environment of self-despair and the desire to harm. Statistics show that at least 1 in five females and 1 in 7 adolescent males will engage in self injury. In the US alone, approximately 2 million cases are reported each year.

Distraction and Breathing Techniques

Calm Halm has brought a new hope to sufferers around the world. Finding popularly with Tumblr users, people have been taking to social media to express their gratitude for the app and the way it has “saved their lives”. The Calm Halm app offers simple and effective solutions for self harm in the form of distraction techniques. Under the “Distract” menu, users will find a number of challenges to choose from. These include thinking up a name for every letter in the alphabet and counting backwards from 100 in multiples of seven. The tasks are designed to be fun ina way, much like the online gambling Canada has to offer is.

In the “Breathe” category, users are encouraged to inhale and exhale for a minute at a time and continue on for as long as they need. The app explains that urge to self harm is not always present. It comes in waves and one needs to simply ride out the wave and the urge will fade. The creators of the app are a mental health charity in London called Stem4. They created the app specifically with teenagers in mind, however the app is shown to have success with users of all ages.

The app itself is focused around Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. This is a very specific type of behaviour theory used to manage emotions by learning to recognise and regulate them. The founder of Stem 4, Dr. Nihara Krause is a consultant and a clinical psychologist. Krause said she wanted to give young people around the world easy access to treatment. According to Krause, about 90 percent of people who self harm are teenagers. As such, the focus of the charity and the app is to target this demographic.

The Value of the Calm Halm App

The Calm Halm app has not been designed replace therapy in any way and it is not intended as a trend or a flash in the pan. Rather, it acts as a supplemental tool for sufferers who feel the urge to self harm. Calm Halm has a in-app log which users can use to track the frequency of their urges. According to Krause, people use coping strategies such as self harm because emotions are difficult to recognise or tolerate. The main area of focus of DBT is emotion regulation, mindfulness, interpersonal learning and distress tolerance. Since the app will have sensitive information, it also offers the option of a password log, giving users a safe place to record their feelings.


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