• Run by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with the University of Bath.
  • A mental health project focusing on young people who self-harm.
  • Will assess the accessibility, safety, use and effect of Bluelce – a self-management app.
  • Designed as an adjunct to therapy, the app includes a mood monitoring diary, mood-lifting activities, relaxation activities, and distress tolerance techniques.

Self-harm among young adolescents is common, with up to 20% self-harming by the age of 18. In addition to the immediate physical harm, self-harm is associated with poor mental health and increased risk of suicide.

To help improve psychological care and outcomes for young people who self-harm, a team at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is implementing and evaluating a self-management smartphone app, specifically designed for young people aged 12 to 17 who self-harm.

At the time of self-harm, almost all young people are on their own, but nearly all have access to their mobile phone. The smartphone app will provide accessible, real-time guidance for young people to help them cope with self-harming urges.

The app, Bluelce, has been co-produced with young people who have self-harmed and is designed as an adjunct to therapy. It includes a mood monitoring diary and a personalised self-help menu of mood lifting activities, including music and photo libraries, physical activities, audio-taped relaxation and mindfulness exercises, identification and challenging of negative thoughts, and distress tolerance activities. BlueIce records mood and mood lifting usage/helpfulness. After use, young people are asked to re-rate their mood and are routed to emergency numbers if they are still feeling an urge to self-harm.

BlueIce will be offered to 50 young people who are regularly self-harming and attending child and adolescent mental health service outpatient clinics located across Bath and North East Somerset, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Swindon and Wiltshire. The project will involve assessing the acceptability, safety, use and effect of Bluelce.

Contact details

For more information about this project, please contact Paul Stallard, Head of Psychological Therapies (children and families) at Oxford Health.