Student mental or psychological health is pressing concern for academicians and health experts. Per findings of a UK-based research team escalating rates of mental illnesses and disorders among students has forced a Swedish company to come up with an explanation and solution to the potential problems.
Fika, founded by Nick Bennett, is an emotional fitness application that uses different tools and practises of the cognitive behaviour therapy, mindfulness and other such therapies, along with the “Scandinavian trend for making the time to talk about, and listen to your emotions and those of your friends”.
Fika is a Swedish word or expression which means to take a break from work, with friends and family to talk or express oneself. Sharing his views on Britain’s University Mental Health Day, Bennett added that the very first step to resolve the issue was to admit that the problem existed at different campuses across the country.
“As these new figures reveal alarmingly high levels of anxiety, loneliness, substance misuse and thoughts of self-harm – let’s admit we have a problem in the UK and then, critically, let’s do something about it. The sad fact is we’ve allowed our cultural focus and the language that stems from it to bind us to a negative perception of mental health and focus on cure, not prevention,” he said.
The application deals with all HE students but was also initiating trials with different UK varsities including Lincoln, Coventry, Exeter and Manchester (Metropolitan). These trials highlighted that international students faced a set of unique difficulties or challenge, particularly during the mobility days.
“For students arriving in the UK from overseas, Fika will be an invaluable confidence-builder. Through our university partners, we know that isolation is a key issue for international students. Fika is uniquely placed to improve cross-cultural inclusion,” he added.
According to the findings of a study by the Insight Network, almost 33 percent of students in the UK experience serious mental issues and challenges for which they needed professional guidance or support. Although the findings of the study were not similar to the one carried in 2018 by Campus Living Villages and The Student Room that highlighted that almost 36 percent students faced suicidal inclinations at one point of their academic careers.
According to Roger Bretherton from the University of Lincoln, emotional fitness was a concept that placed the responsibility to look after ourselves in our own hands, by deducing information and learning from evidence-based wellness practises which have been an integral part of psychology for decades. He said, “It’s great to work with Fika and other university partners to develop an accessible, proactive and preventative approach to mental health.”