mSootheBox app

CAMHS.Digital are currently working hard on our project to develop a new Augmented Reality (AR) app called mSootheBox. With funding from the Wellcome Trust, we are able to work alongside digital technology experts from Sparta Digital and young people at interactive workshops to begin to co-design various ideas and prototypes of the mSootheBox app and to get feedback from young people about what they think of the mSootheBox idea. You can read about the latest updates from this project in our blog.

sad boy

Mental health services in the UK are currently struggling to meet an ever-increasing demand, so it is hoped that alternative therapeutic interventions like mSootheBox will go some way in helping to address this issue. The management of self-harm is a key priority within the field of preventative mental health of children and young people. Sadly, research shows that the rates of self-harm amongst children and young people are increasing (Morgan et al, 2017), with some figures suggesting that around one in five 15-year-olds have self-harmed at some point (HBSC, 2014). Self-harm is also the biggest risk factor for suicide, which is the second most common cause of death in children and young people aged 10-24 years (Morgan et al). It is therefore vital that we find suitable and effective ways to prevent and manage self-harming behaviours, and we hope that mSootheBox can make a big difference.

girl on phone

mSootheBox has grown from previous work conducted by the Centre for Women’s Mental Health (CWMH).  One tool that has been shown to be effective for managing self-harming behaviours is the use of safe distraction techniques. These techniques help a person to resist the immediate urge to harm by shifting their attention to other activities. It is therefore vital that this support is accessible to a person on-demand and in their immediate environment. However, this is currently not the case, as these techniques are often needed most outside of normal service hours, such as late at night when a child or young person may feel lonely. The mSootheBox app will explore how we can use Augmented Reality (AR) technology to create interactive, context-rich and personalised self-harm distractions, which can be accessed on demand by the child or young person through a smartphone or tablet. It is hoped that this will make it easier for children and young people to manage and prevent their self-harming behaviours.

group work

To make this happen, CAMHS.Digital have organised a series of interactive workshops to work collaboratively with experts from Sparta Digital and young people to co-design initial ideas for the mSootheBox app. The workshops will be varied and include brainstorming sandpit, high level paper prototyping, reverse mentoring and interactive discussions, giving young people the opportunity to also develop their own  skills. Finally, all stakeholders will present the ideas to clinicians, academics, industry partners and service users at an exciting ‘Roadshow’ event.