DMHS Smartphone Application

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Durham Mental Health Services


Health services


Smartphone Application

DMHS Suicide Prevention Smartphone Application


Durham Mental Health Services (DMHS)is a leading mental health services provider located near Toronto which offers free and confidential mental health services and operates as a not-for-profit agency.


DMHS had previously hired New Design Group for a rebranding project to show people living with mental illness that they were a caring and highly professional organisation which people could turn to in times of need.


As the number of website visits and social media engagement increased, the forward thinking CEO, Rob Adams realised that many people with mental health concerns use online resources to find advice.


He felt the next logical step was for DMHS to develop an app which would provide people with immediate guidance on what to do in times of crisis – for both those suffering with mental health issues and for the people who support them. Furthermore it would provide:


  • practical help
  • details of the support services offered by DMHS
  • background information
  • in the case of immediate suicide risk, when it was more appropriate to call 911
  • a sense of hope knowing that help is at hand


New Design Group were hired to develop this new app.


Technical Challenges


Two apps were required- one for an Android platform and one for IOS. To reduce development times and to stay within a tight budget, New Design Group decided to use a cross-platform environment which allowed one app to be built and then compiled for each platform.


Design Challenges


It was important to have a clear statement that the app was not a substitute for medical or professional care – hence a clear disclaimer statement is shown when first using the app.


New Design Group designed the app so that the information was clearly displayed on a small screen, whilst also utilising key elements of the DMHS brand, namely the logo and colour palette.


In addition, New Design Group developed the app to have:


  • intuitive navigation – it is simple for the user to find what they need quickly
  • simple clickable buttons and scrolling screens
  • an option to increase the font size for improve ease of reading
  • further information sections with a clickable “read more” option , keeping overall layout tidy and allowing users to choose whether they want to read more or not
  • a clickable phone number to make it simple for the user to make a call
  • a clickable website address which takes the user directly to the DMHS website




All of the content was carefully created in conjunction with DMHS to ensure the right messages are conveyed to the user, and both the DMHS phone number and website address are shown clearly on each screen.


Future Plans


New Design Group are working on a separating the current app into two – one native Android and one native IOS.


Additionally the updated app will include the functionality of the DMHS safety plan to enable users to keep their coping strategies updated on their smart phones.




Not only does the DMHS Suicide Prevention app offer those living with mental illness concerns immediate support and guidance, but it shows DMHS as a positive and professional role model with the area of mental health services.


The DMHS Suicide Prevention app is available for download on Google Play.