Fika, an emotional fitness app for students, has been shortlisted for Startup of the Year as part of Natwest’s Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
The app launched in February 2019 and specialises in helping students build emotional fitness by improving their resilience, confidence, focus, motivation, empathy and active listening skills.
You might also like: Why the issue of social media and mental health is not black and white (Blog)
Fika offers five-minute emotional exercises designed to improve student attainment, retention, and employability. It is designed for students to use face-to-face with one another, as well as by themselves. The aim is to provide positive implications for social inclusion at universities.
Nick Bennett, co-founder and CEO of Fika, said: “We have big work ahead of us and can’t achieve the genuine cultural change we want to see in the world alone. We are calling on all universities across the UK to join us in our mission, and help us build a brighter future for student wellbeing.”
We want to make regular emotional exercise as mainstream an activity as physical exercise.
– Gareth Fryer, Fika
The company is also working with sportspeople and athletes to help close the gap between perceptions of physical and emotional fitness. It is also raising awareness through these partnerships of how students can benefit from the mental fitness training that athletes receive to build their performance, including training for a big event, visualising goals, and staying motivated in the face of adversity.
Fika draws on theory and research from positive psychology, acceptance and commitment therapy, solution-focused therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and sports psychology.
Gareth Fryer, co-founder and director of Fika, said: “Physical fitness entered the mainstream three to four decades ago, and today we all know how it benefits our health and wellbeing. We want to make regular emotional exercise as mainstream an activity as physical exercise, demonstrating through our research how transformative it can be for our careers, studies, relationships and personal lives.”
Over the next three years, Fika will work with universities to build the UK’s largest body of empirical evidence around the benefits of regular emotional exercise for students’ health, attainment, and social relationships.