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Bath Spa becomes latest university to join Emotional Fitness programme


Bath Spa has become the latest university to join forces with Emotional Fitness app Fika in its mission to mainstream Emotional Fitness across UK students.

Alongside existing partner universities including Exeter, Lincoln, Manchester Metropolitan and CUSU: London Campus, Bath Spa University will support Fika as it aims to raise the national agenda surrounding the importance of regular emotional exercise for students’ attainment, employability and wellbeing.

Bath Spa University puts student wellbeing at the very core of its focus. With a friendly community of around 8,000 students and staff and outstanding facilities in breathtaking locations, Bath Spa is an inspiring place to study. The university will pilot Fika’s Emotional Fitness app, as well as participate in Fika’s three-year evidence-based study into the efficacy of regular emotional exercise.

Fika offers a scaleable, preventative solution for student wellbeing – offering guided five-minute emotional exercises designed to help students build their resilience, confidence, empathy, active listening skills and positive thinking.

Fika is designed for students to use on their own, face to face with their friends, or in multi-user ‘pods’, where peer groups can support and motivate each other. By helping students stay calm under pressure, focused on their goals, adaptable and accepting of what comes their way, Fika helps protect students from susceptibility to mental illness as well as providing them with key soft skills for university life and beyond.

The app is science-backed, drawing on theory and research from across positive psychology and sports psychology as well as more traditional methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance commitment therapy (ACT) and solution-focused therapy.

Sara Gallagher, Head of Student Support at Bath Spa University, said:

“We’ve always been proactive and progressive when it comes to student mental health at Bath Spa, and our attainment data shows this proactive approach really works.

“Fika offers something very different and refreshing: it’s highly inclusive, and it destigmatises mental health by using new language. We’re really excited to partner with Fika, and to experiment with all the different ways we can use it. We have very high hopes for Fika.”

Dr Rebecca Schaaf, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience at Bath Spa University, said:

“Going to university today is a serious investment and comes with its own pressures – it’s as important to us as ever to ensure students feel emotionally well and in control of their lives.

“We’re very excited to add Fika to our student wellbeing offering and couldn’t be more supportive of their mission to change the way young people think about and approach their own emotional health.”

Nick Bennett, co-founder & CEO of Fika, said:

“We’re delighted to join forces with Bath Spa University in our mission to mainstream Emotional Fitness across the UK’s students. They are a fantastic university with an impressive track record for student wellbeing – we’re privileged to be working with them.”

Fika is a health technology business on a mission to mainstream the healthy habit of emotional fitness. Through its app, it provides five-minute emotional exercises that combine the science of positive psychology and CBT with a Scandinavian trend for making the time to talk about, and listen to your emotions and those of your friends.

Launched in London in 2018 by Nick Bennett and Gareth Fryer, it has raised £1 million in early stage private funding and has established partnerships with major UK Universities, including The Universities of Exeter, Lincoln, Manchester Metropolitan and CUSU: Coventry University London, to pilot its service with students and develop empirical evidence via primary research studies into the benefits of proactive emotional exercise.

What is Fika?

Fika provides 5 minute emotional exercises based on techniques which combine the science of Positive Psychology,Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Sports Psychology and Mindfulness with the Scandinavian trend for taking the time to talk, listening to your emotions and those of your friends.

How to Fika

Users start by choosing an outcome focussed pack, such as ‘Achieve your goals’ or ‘Strengthen your relationships’. Each pack has a series of guided exercises based around a key question.

The exercises have a 5 minute timer to help with focus and the formation of a healthy daily exercise habit. Each exercise has an audio guide and on-screen prompts to help you prepare with suggestions on how to make the most of the 5 minutes.

Designed to maximise inclusion and accessibility, you can Fika on your own to build confidence. Or, with someone you know face to face by taking it turns to talk through the exercise while your friend uses the prompts to help you. This role play simulates co-coaching between peers, guided by the mediator in the audio guides promoting active listening, perspective and empathy, all essential soft skills that are industry recognised and required to make the most of your social and work life.

About Bath Spa University: Where creative minds meet, we teach and research across art, sciences, education, social science, and business. The University employs outstanding creative professionals who support its aim to be a leading educational institution in creativity, culture and enterprise.

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