Please note that I am not affiliated with the creators of Calm Harm and Clear Fear. This is NOT a sponsored post. I’m just sharing our experience in the hope that it will help someone.
Apps for Anxiety
We were introduced to the idea of using apps for anxiety at our last CAMHS appointment. My autistic son has a problem with ruminating thoughts and often gets agitated. Our counsellor recommended several apps that could help. Out of the list, Calm Harm and Clear Fear were our favourites.
Downloading the apps is simple. They are available on both the Google Play store and the Apple App Store. We prefer using our tablet as it is more user friendly. However, having them on a phone can be useful as they are always available to hand.
Calm Harm and Clear fear can both be used for anxiety, but both focus on different things. You may prefer one over the other, so it’s worth trying both. They are free to download and use.
I will start with a brief overview of the Calm Harm app. This app has been created with teenagers in mind who may be suffering from the urge to self harm. It has been created by the mental health charity stem4.
The app describes the urge to self harm as a wave. This wave can pass and we can “ride the wave” using different techniques. The main methods are comfort, distract, express yourself, release, random and breathe. Different techniques will appeal to different people.
Each section of the app presents the user with a selection of timed activities, designed to help the urge pass. For example, you may have to name an animal for each letter of the alphabet, or count the 19 times table. This is called Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).
Calm Harm then lets the user record and monitor any changes by creating a log. Hopefully, the person will feel more in control of their emotions by using the app regularly.
The Clear Fear app is slightly different and may appeal to younger children. Nevertheless, it can be used by any age.
The app looks at the different types of anxiety that we can feel, including social anxiety, phobias and OCD. It used mindfulness techniques and breathing exercises to help the user calm down.
One activity that I really enjoy on the Clear Fear app is the video clip section. You are presented with a short video, such as a beach or forest, and encouraged to spot as many small details as you can. This is a distraction technique which allows the user to become absorbed in the activity, hopefully making them feel less anxious.
Our Experience Using Calm Harm and Clear Fear
We have found both apps helpful and continue to use them daily. Now, when my son gets upset or angry, I encourage him to use the apps. He says that he feels a lot happier and calmer when using them.
I will mention one slight problem we had with the Calm Harm activities. Because some are timed, my son felt under a lot of pressure to complete the activity in the allotted time; increasing his anxiety. Because of this, I make sure he doesn’t do the activities that make him feel this way. I also told him that it doesn’t matter about doing the whole activity in the time, but some autistic people may feel compelled to. Therefore some caution is needed.
I have recommended both apps to friends and people seem impressed with them. They can be used by anyone, not just teenagers.