Some days, It can be hard to understand what we are feeling,keep-calm-and-7-cups-of-tea-on-1.png
or finding some one to talk to. Maybe finding the time to meet up for coffee or to clean up the house so someone can come over is stressful or makes you anxious. Finding a therapist is a daunting task, and unless you are provided those services through your school (most high schools and universities offer on campus Councillors and therapists or can refer you to one as a student), they come at a great cost.

Where do you turn to when it's hard to leave the house or you work 2-4 jobs and have no time to talk through your problems?

I found 7 cups of tea while reading through an article about free support for anxiety, depression and mental health. The basic premise of 7 cups of tea is it is an online website designed to help and support people globally with their problems and mental health. There are forums to chat with others, as well as online users who are trained with the 7 cups training services to become a "listener"; which is essentially a counselor, or at the very least, a listening ear. Anyone can  become a listener and anyone can sign up for free to talk to someone.

In this day and age, this is an amazing idea. Most people, if not all, have access to the internet and a computer or device that has wifi. I've used the system before and here are  my pros and cons.

Pro: It's free.
- You don't have to go all out for "premium" courses and content unless you want to. The chat system, forums, and basic online courses and support are free to all users.

Con: Because anyone can be a listener, not everyone you're matched with is compatible.
- The first few times I tried talking to someone, they either wrote in chat speak (which I dislike. While I understand the slang, I'm an intellectual and if you 'typ lik dis', I'm sorry but I'm leaving the chat), or had a different approach to being a listener. Feel no shame in saying you need to go or this isn't what you were looking for and match up with someone new. Unless you request a user specifically that is online, they randomly get matched with someone based on your age and the broad genre of what you wish to discuss.

Pro: It's Quick.
- I've never waited longer than a few minutes to get matched with someone. There are so many people who use 7 cups that are inspired to become a listener, that you will always have someone to be matched up with.

Con: Small Talk.
- I'll be honest here: I have a bit of social anxiety. I'm not a fan of talking on the phone, and I dislike small talk. A lot of the listeners I haven't clicked with often start off the conversation with small talk, and while it's nice to connect and have a relationship with the person you're talking to, I came with a purpose. This is a personal con, but I am personally working on either getting to the point or going with the flow.

What do you think of 7 cups of tea (or at least the idea)? Or, if you've used this service, what is your opinion?

Published by Margaret Geary-Merkl