Introducing BlueIce - a self-harm prevention app

Posted in: HealthResSW

Researchers from the Department for Health in the University of Bath have developed a self-harm prevention app called ‘BlueIce’ (‘Blue’ is depressed and ‘Ice’ is an acronym for In Case of Emergency) it has been designed specifically for use by young self-harmers.

The app was developed by a small team, including Professor Paul Stallard, Lisa Austin from Bath R&D, and app developers Intothehand, in response to feedback from mental health service users in Bath, who said they would find a self-harm prevention app helpful.

Prof Paul Stallard, who leads the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Research Group in the Department for Health  said “the app is a way for users to take ideas from clinical sessions back to their home, for use when they are alone.”

Blue Ice gives users a mood check-in dashboard. You rate your mood and it checks how you’re feeling. If you’re not feeling good it takes you through to a set of mood-related clinical activities designed to help you feel better

Once you’ve done an activity it then asks you to re-rate your mood. If your mood has improved then you can log off. However, if it hasn’t then it offers more questions about whether you feel like hurting yourself before offering you further options depending on the level of risk it thinks you’re at.

The app has taken 12 months to design, researchers started by gathering literature on self-harm and using this to develop ideas for the apps features; they then held a focus group with young mental health service users to discuss feasibility and develop content.

From this the Beta version of the app was developed, and is currently undergoing extensive clinical trialing.  If Blue Ice proves successful in the clinical trials, the app will be used in conjunction with the mental health team’s clinical work, giving users support when they are alone and need to deal with their feelings.

For further information on the Blue Ice project please contact Lisa Austin on

Posted in: HealthResSW