Mental health matters: Q&A with Evexia Collective founder Rebecca Kane
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Mental health matters: Q&A with Evexia Collective founder Rebecca Kane

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Evexia Collective is a brand-new concept startup that aids businesses in comprehending and enhancing the mental fitness of their staff members. Motivated by the desire to help people improve their mental health and performance in order to find the elusive balance between achieving both their personal and professional goals at the same time.

At The Vent Machine, we take mental health matters seriously. Having gone through anxiety myself, I appreciate all mental health support ecosystems on a very personal level. As such, when I was presented with an exclusive offer to try out Evexia Collective’s groundbreaking methodology via exclusive lifetime access to their mobile app, I couldn’t say no. The interface is very easy-to-use and I found the app extremely helpful and resourceful.

Rebecca Kane, the founder of Evexia Collective feels that Singapore needs to embrace mental fitness now and she is not wrong. In May this year, Straits Times reported that according to a national study, about 1 in 3 youth in Singapore has mental health symptoms.

Over an email interview, we explore Rebecca’s views on mental health in Singapore, the importance of mental health in hybrid/remote working environments, her inspirations and journey so far with Evexia Collective and more.

TVM: Please share more on the urgency for Singapore to embrace mental fitness as a norm.

Rebecca: We live in a hectic, exciting and vibrant city here in Singapore and we have a very high-achieving society where we push ourselves to work hard and achieve as much as we possibly can, which is fantastic but there are also some side-effects. 92% of Singaporeans report being “stressed” which is a fair amount higher than the global average of 84%. This translates to over 700,000 work days missed each year due to stress alone in Singapore, so it costs our businesses and economy as well as our health system and individual quality of life. So the need for mental fitness can’t really be understated.

That’s why Evexia Collective is focused on building mental fitness which is the strength, resilience and health of our minds which, much like physical fitness, needs to be trained and strengthened. If we continue to put our minds under a huge amount of stress without teaching ourselves how to manage it, of course, we’re going to suffer from ailments such as insomnia, overthinking, irritability, poor decision-making, reduced creativity, poor leadership – these are all things associated with poor mental fitness. We provide resources, activities and mental exercises to help improve your mental fitness in an easy and accessible way.

TVM: Why is mental health even more important at the workplace in this new remote/hybrid environment?

Rebecca: Interestingly a Stanford study showed that working from home actually increases productivity by 13% on average with 30% of people getting more work done in less time, leaving them a better work-life balance, and 24% of people getting more work done in the same amount of time, so on the surface working from home can appear to improve productivity.

However, whether you’re at home or whether you’re at the office, distractions are a real problem. Working from home can mean that there are more distractions around you, such as children or family members, which can make it tricky to concentrate. But equally so, it means you often have less “wasted” time, for example, with no commute time. Equally, at the office, we can easily get distracted by colleagues stopping by our desks for a catch-up.

So it’s important to remember that these external distractions are outside of our control. The only thing you can control is your own ability to manage these distractions, whether it’s at home or in the office.
Equally, working from home can increase loneliness without regular face-to-face interactions with our colleagues. We read so much more from others with these face-to-face moments.

That’s where mental fitness comes in to focus on ourselves and with Evexia Collective’s tools, build your resilience to deal with any situation you’re put in. The aim is that no matter where you are working – be that at the office, home or a café, you are able to manage these distractions.

TVM: How mental unfitness can lead to low productivity, which eventually leads to low self-esteem and other related mental unfitness?

Rebecca: I think we’ve all had those days where you can’t seem to get anything done. Often the default is to get annoyed with ourselves and assume it’s laziness, but actually, at Evexia Collective we see that it tends to be down to one of two common reasons:

  • Stress or anxiety- where you’re worrying about that seemingly unachievable end goal which feels too difficult to manage
  • Perfectionism- where you have a deep-rooted fear of not doing well enough or meeting your or somebody else’s expectations.

Something like procrastination can also exacerbate underlying issues because it can result in underperforming in our personal and professional lives, which becomes a big deal in our fast-moving and ambitious society. This leads to self-esteem issues as we don’t meet our own expectations of how we think we should perform at work and at home. This then exacerbates any mental unfitness and becomes a negative cycle which can be hard to break out of. It’s these deeper reasons that we tackle at Evexia Collective by addressing the underlying causes, we’re able to help you overcome common issues such as procrastination. With the tools and resources we provide at Evexia Collective, we teach you how to never get into that cycle in the first place, or we give you a helping hand to break out of the cycle if you’ve slipped into it.

TVM: What inspired you to start Evexia Collective? I understand it all started when you were working in a high-stress environment in the banking sector in London. From there to Evexia Collective- please share more about your journey as a founder.

Rebecca: Yes, I worked in a private investment bank for 8 years in London, and whilst I was there, like everyone around me, I suffered from stress. I could see that every one of my fantastic colleagues, who were incredibly motivated, hard-working, intelligent and high achieving, was displaying symptoms of stress too. It was considered completely normal. So I decided to do something about that. I helped set up an employee-lead network which operated like a startup within the organization and provided additional support and information for employees on mental health.

I left in 2020 to study for an MBA at INSEAD and upon graduating it was obvious what I needed to do, so I set up Evexia Collective. I had experience in delivering corporate mental health solutions and I had also seen the huge gaps in the market that were not being met by existing solutions.

Specifically, existing solutions focus on recovery from mental health illnesses or conditions, rather than true preventative care. There are stigmas associated with mental health care and so often people disengage with solutions before they start, even if they can be beneficial to them. Therefore I saw an opportunity to create a solution that preventatively encourages engagement in mental health solutions in a proactive and positive way so that individuals don’t get to the point of illness, and so that people can learn how to optimize their mind and their performance.

My journey as a founder over the past year has been exciting, and probably understandably full of learning and hard work. I’ve learnt that it’s not possible to always have the answer, but you’ve just got to constantly problem-solve and push forward. I always want to be going faster and faster and never feel like I’ve done enough – but I think that’s the age-old plight of an entrepreneur, we always push ourselves and want more, however far we’ve come! So my journey has only just started really and we’ve got a long way to go, but it’s exciting and I can’t wait to keep going.

TVM: Tell us more about the name of the company. Is there a story behind it?

Rebecca: Yes, I love this question – we didn’t want a name that was too “Mental Health” on the surface, as often people have preconceived notions of what that means and they usually think of recovery from a place of bad mental health. Instead we are about strengthening the brain and mind and the positive upside of mental health. We settled on the name Evexia as it’s Greek for “Wellbeing” and Ancient Greece is where the concept of gymnasiums and fitness were invented – and ultimately that’s what we are, we’re a Mental Wellbeing Gym! I also think the word sounds intriguing and interesting, it makes you want to know more.

TVM: How much R&D went behind the app? Please tell us more about the neuroscience pillars; Energy, Calm, and Focus, and why are they important.

Rebecca: At Evexia Collective we have a fantastic team of doctors including a psychiatrist and neuroscience researcher who has helped us build our model which measures three key markers; how Calm you are, your Energy and your ability to Focus. Each pillar is based on different areas of the brain and cognitive functions which are key to our everyday lives. And each of these factors is impacted by different things such as your stress levels, and how well you’ve slept if you’ve eaten enough and these factors all add up to how well you’re able to function in your personal and professional life.

So through our app, you can measure your mental fitness, including scores for these 3 pillars, through regular questions. This is based on the premise that if you can’t measure something, you can’t really understand and then improve it. So by seeing your scores for each of these pillars, you can understand your own mind better and see how those scores change over time. We then highlight where you can bring up those scores with the tools we provide through the app.

We work with organizations to provide these tools to their staff and to help them measure their employee well-being and make long-lasting changes. The early version of the app is available for a limited period of time so if you’d like to try it out, search for it in app stores under Evexia Mental Fitness.

We are constantly monitoring the results and looking for opportunities to improve our solutions to give users more personalized and targeted benefits. We have loads of exciting functions coming soon which are part of that constant iteration.

TVM: How is your company different from other mental health apps and startups in the industry?

Rebecca: Firstly, what sets us apart is that we’re not about recovery from a point of illness, but we are truly preventative as we believe that you should never get to the point of illness if you learn the right coping mechanisms. That’s why Evexia Collective is focused on building mental fitness which is the strength, resilience and health of our minds which, much like physical fitness, needs to be trained and strengthened. If we continue to put our minds under a huge amount of stress without teaching ourselves how to manage it, of course, we’re going to suffer from ailments such as insomnia, overthinking, irritability, poor decision-making, reduced creativity, poor leadership – these are all things associated with poor mental fitness. We provide resources, activities and mental exercises to help improve your mental fitness in an easy and accessible way.

Secondly, we are also the only MentalFitness company out there that has a unique measurement tool based on neuroscience and psychology to track your own Mental Fitness over time and see how it changes.

Thirdly, we also are crucially passionate about the data, we show you your own data back to you, and this enables you to see your stats, your scores and how these change over time. We have taken this concept from many wearable technologies that exist and as humans, we find this really motivating. This helps you to understand your own mind better and then you can take recommended steps to boost targeted areas of Mental Fitness.

Finally, we work with businesses to support their employees or clients. We do not, and will never, share your personal underlying data with third parties and this is core to our business. But we share aggregate reporting so that organizations can see overall how their team’s well-being is doing at a high level (nothing personally identifiable). This allows businesses to understand how their staff are doing and to step in to make improvements earlier when issues start to arise, rather than waiting until groups of staff quit (or quiet quit) because of stress or similar reasons.

TVM: As a freelancer who wears many hats plus a new mom, I have been struggling with procrastination and self-sabotage for a while now. We have a lot of new moms who are trying to balance work and life in the The Vent Machine (TVM) community. How can Evexia Collective help women like us?

Rebecca: The Evexia Mental Fitness app is a great place to start, and we are offering it for a limited period of time for free (just search Evexia Mental Fitness on any app store and sign up). Using the tool can help you to understand your own triggers (personal and professional) and then target the areas that most need a boost with the exercises and activities in the app.

TVM: What inspires you to keep going when you are feeling low?

Rebecca: Funnily enough, it’s the challenge that keeps me going. I really enjoy working on something that’s tricky and that feeling when you make breakthroughs. That feeling keeps me focused and driving forward. When it’s combined with the knowledge that I’m working to help people, it really helps to motivate me.

However, we all need a break sometimes, so if I’m really feeling low, then it’s probably an indication to take a little break and recoup with friends and family. Rest, recharge and then I naturally feel fired up and ready to work towards my vision again.

TVM: What’s your ultimate goal with the company? Please feel free to add anything you’d like to share.

Rebecca: My goal is to equip everyone with the right skill sets and tools to proactively look after their own minds and to reduce the occurrence and impact of any mental well-being issues. The dream is that businesses like mine don’t need to exist because people have those skills already inherently embedded, but unfortunately we are a long way from that.

Find out more about the app here and download it for yourself to try it out:

About Post Author

Surabhi Pandey

A journalist by training, Surabhi is a writer and content consultant currently based in Singapore. She has over seven years of experience in journalistic and business writing, qualitative research, proofreading, copyediting and SEO. Working in different capacities as a freelancer, she produces both print and digital content and leads campaigns for a wide range of brands and organisations – covering topics ranging from technology to education and travel to lifestyle with a keen focus on the APAC region.
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