About the app

It is important to understand how CALMA works and why we should prioritize these function developments

App Summary

CALMA is the first smartphone application (app) in Spanish and in English that interacts with the user and provides them with tools based on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) for managing crisis situations that may result in self-harm or in suicidal behaviour. In addition, Calma also works outside crisis situations by promoting activities aiming at reducing the user's vulnerability to avoid new crises and by providing psychoeducational content about the crisis, suicide and suicide prevention.

Out of crisis mode

This mode consists of 4 features that are displayed in four tabs on the screen:


In "Moments", the user can add photos, videos, audios, songs, phrases or anything else that generates well-being and functions as an anchor to life. These "Moments" are their own, and that's why they should be completed and personalized by each user. CALMA sends weekly reminders to the users, with the aim that they revisit their "Moments" or reasons to keep trying and that way reduce the vulnerability that may lead to experiencing a new crisis.


Through this feature, CALMA allows the user to plan pleasant activities for the week. Through a weekly notification, the app measures the degree of completion of such activities and encourages higher compliance week by week. By means of notifications, the app seeks to increase the amount of pleasant activities performed weekly, and that way to reduce the vulnerability that may lead to experiencing a new crisis.


This feature contains the user's name/nickname and gives the user the possibility to add phone contacts of relatives, friends, acquaintances, therapists, the user's psychiatrist or other people the user may turn to in a crisis situation that can't be solved with the app and that requires the use of the "Emergency Card" (see below). The purpose is that, while being out of crisis, the user uploads a series of phone resources that will be available for the crisis situation; in such moments, remembering contacts or having them available is difficult.


This feature provides content with psychoeducational material, which is related to emotional crises with or without suicidal ideas as well as to crisis prevention. This material is written with appropriate language according to the user's age and they are brief and concise. The purpose is that the userS can better understand what is happening to them or what they are experiencing during crises as well as the grounds and reasons why they will undergo different types of interventions.

I need help mode

Since the user's first access to the app and during the whole use, CALMA displays a button at the bottom of the page that reads: "I need help". The creation of this button aims at making it easier for the user to access the tools in the moment of the crisis. By activating the button, the user accesses to a series of interventions based on the DBT model whose efficacy in suicidal crisis reduction has been proven in treatment with therapists. These interventions are presented as cards.

Problem-solving Card

This card gives the user the option to evaluate if the problem that triggered the crisis can be addressed through the problem-solving strategy before starting using some of the DBT "Skills Cards" proposed by the app. This way, CALMA helps the person in crisis to try to find the problem-solving strategies as long as it is a problem that can be solved at that moment and as long as the user is willing to try it. Otherwise, the next step will be to start the crisis management through the "Skills Cards".

Card to measure distress

By accessing the "I Need Help Mode", the user receives the first card, which aims to quantify the discomfort that the user feels when the user starts using the app. The purpose is that the user can identify which emotion they are feeling through different emojis which represent the different emotions, and then quantify its intensity by means of a thermometer which will allow the user to rank it from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest degree of discomfort experienced).

Skills Cards

After the user identifies the emotion and quantifies its intensity, CALMA will start to show different cards with skills (interventions) based on DBT to manage or go through emotional crises. Each card proposes a certain DBT skill, the theoretical basis of its application and an indication of how to perform it, which comes in written, graphic and audio format. The user can read, see or listen to the content of each card (intervention) and choose to perform the exercise or dismiss it with a simple finger swipe or with the "dismiss card" button. The app cards are based principally on two groups of DBT skills: emotional regulation and distress tolerance (included in the former), which help the user to lower or alleviate the intensity of the crises, or even to put an end to them.

Emergency Card

If distress worsens, or if it doesn't decrease after three interventions or skills, CALMA offers the user the possibility to make one or several calls to the emergency contacts previously added to the app or to call standard emergency numbers. Also, this card allows the user to activate the geolocation function through which, by means of Google Maps, the app shows all the emergency services near the user's area so that the user can personally ask for help.

Calma Developers

The content that you find in CALMA was developed by mental health professionals, who are DBT and crisis management experts, and it was specifically written in a format and language which they considered appropriate to be understood by an adolescent.