Bringing together patients' perspectives on eHealth and mHealth

Calm Harm – Teenage Mental Health Charity Makes It’s Apps Stand Out

Calm Harm App

It’s highly challenging for small health charities and patient groups to get their apps noticed. Stem4, a UK-based mental health charity for teenagers, has gained large numbers of users for its apps. Looking at the websites supporting its anxiety and self-harm apps, four key lessons can be taken from their experience around transparency, credibility and clarity.

1: Name medical input and funders

When checking health apps, there are often three key areas that either do not exist, or are not clear: funding, the developer’s address, and who advised medically. The last feels particularly important. 

It’s not often that a single clinician gives their name to an app, talks about co-creation with patients, and acts as an ambassador for it. In the case of Stem4’s two apps, prominently up front there is the clear statement that the apps were “…developed by Dr Nihara Krause, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, together with ideas from young people.”

In the UK, Comic Relief is a well-trusted fundraising brand. Each year, top comedians front a telethon to raise funds for charity. By making clear that their anxiety app Clear Fear was partly funded by Comic Relief, the app gains credibility, trust and goodwill associated with the funder.

2: Gain profile and visibility through awards

The charity’s apps have gained a large number of awards. Although multiple award applications are time-consuming for a charity, external recognition and validation can be key to building trust with potential users. 

Digital health award sites are easier to find than sites for specific apps. For example, the Calm Harm app has in its short life gained a range of awards including from:

  • Health tech and you awards
  • UX UK awards (Best user experience, best not-for-profit)
  • DXA UK Digital Experience Awards Gold Winner 2018 (Best not-for-profit) 
3: Clarity and transparency on website

Short descriptions dictated by app store formats are sometimes inadequate and too restrictive for health apps. Some apps need more space, flexibility and freedom to address the needs and concerns of potential users. The charity’s website for the Calm Harm app has a much more comprehensive page for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) than most sites supporting apps.

In doing so, it manages to address not only concerns of patients and carers, but also clinicians, and those concerned about data privacy.

The areas of concern addressed on the questions page include:

  • Who the app is for
  • How it works
  • Supporting clinical evidence from a pilot study with young patients
  • How the team developed the app with young people
  • Safety features built into the app
  • What data is collected, and how it is protected.
4: Track and share data on returning users

Usage data can give a sense of how useful an app is, and frankly, that the developer cares how useful it is. The charity’s website cites the last reported figures for April 2019, where Calm Harm had been downloaded 920,000 times. Of these, 63.7 of people (512,605) returned to use the app more than once. 

The cost of creating web pages to support an app are low in proportion to developing the app itself and could be key to making it stand out in the market.

NEXT STEPS:

Find out more about the teenage mental health charity which developed the apps at…

Click here

Check out the website supporting the charity’s Clear Fear app at…

Click here

Check out the website supporting the charity’s Calm Harm app, including FAQs at…

Click here

Visit myhealthapps.net for more information on both apps…

Calm Harm and Clear Fear

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