HMA, a digital agency specialising in health, science and technology, has been recognised at the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2019 for the ground-breaking work on the ‘Calm Harm’ app from teenage mental health charity stem4.
The app was created to help teenagers resist or manage the urge to self-harm. Delivering content that uses the basic principles of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), the app involved teenagers in several steps of the design process. It has been downloaded over 930,000 times worldwide and is now featured on the NHS App Library. Calm Harm has been successfully received by its users, who reported a reduction in the urge of self-harm, reaching 93% of efficacy.
Dr Nihara Crause, CEO of stem4, said: “We have learned through experience that it is not easy to find a tech partner who has in-depth knowledge of creating relevant health apps and who are versed in NHS requirements. The knowledge and experience HMA have is invaluable. We see HMA more as an extension of our ‘stem4 family’ rather than business partners we pay to provide a service for.”
The design of the app was based around 3 key priorities – discretion, personalisation and simplicity. These free elements turned out to be a recipe for a successful digital innovation.
Nicola Tiffany, Managing Director of HMA, said: “According to ORCHA, there are 327,000 apps that claim to help us stay healthy or manage our health, but it’s estimated that only 15,000 of these are regularly maintained, secure, clinically safe or have met design standards.
“Self-harm in particular is not something that has been tackled by many app designers so there was a big gap in the level of support for those trying to self-manage this issue.”
Deborah Dawton, Chief Executive of the Design Business Association, said: “When it comes to our nation’s competitiveness, infusing design universally into business should be a priority in order to drive long-term growth and economic advantage for the UK. The DBA Design Effectiveness Award winners prove why.”