Shaping the Design of Smartphone-Based Interventions for Self-Harm

Mahsa Honary, Beth Bell, Sarah Clinch, Julio Vega, Leo Kroll, Aaron Sefi, Roisin McNaney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Self-harm is a prevalent issue amongst young people, yet it is thought around 40% will never seek professional help due to stigma surrounding it. It is generally a way of coping with emotional distress and can have a range of triggers which are highly heterogeneous to the individual. In a move towards enhancing the accessibility of personalized interventions for self-harm, we undertook a three-stage study. We first conducted interviews with 4 counsellors in self-harm to understand how they clinically respond to self-harm triggers. We then ran a survey with 37 young people, to explore perceptions of mobile sensing, and current and future uses for smartphone-based interventions. Finally, we ran a workshop with 11 young people to further explore how a context-aware self-management application might be used to support them. We contribute an in-depth understanding of how triggers for self-harm might be identified and subsequently predicted and prevented using mobile-sensing technology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
ISBN (Electronic)9781450367080
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2020
Event2020 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2020 - Honolulu, United States
Duration: 25 Apr 202030 Apr 2020

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2020 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank all study participants for participating in this study. In particular, 42nd Street for supporting participant recruitment and hosting the workshops. This research was funded by the EPSRC-NIHR NewMind Network Plus.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 ACM.


  • co-design
  • intervention
  • mental health
  • mobile sensing
  • non-suicidal self-injury
  • self-harm
  • situation-aware app
  • trust

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