Free emotional support available right at students fingertips

7 Cups of Tea is an app that offers 24/7 support for those who are emotionally unstable or lonely. Through the app, caring people are available all hours of the day to listen, chat, or just give encouraging words. (Photo Illustration by Allison Evans | The Collegian)

Over the decades, many have claimed that college is supposed to be “the best years of your life.” Growing trends are revealing, however, that there are correlations between the transition to college, depression and anxiety.

According to surveys done by the American College Health Association, 33.4 percent of college students have felt so depressed “that it was difficult to function.” Shockingly, this number depicts reality. College students everywhere are having to balance academics, extra-curricular activities, work, finances, friendships and intimate relationships to get by.

Glen Moriarty, founder and CEO of 7 Cups of Tea, has devoted much of his life to helping individuals in need. Through this passion he founded an online emotional support service to help with the ever growing problems of depression and anxiety.

At a click of a button, 7 Cups of Tea connects users via an Apple or Android app, or the Internet, to a support service where they can vent their feelings to trained listeners. The service is completely free and anonymous for its users.

Many individuals do not seek help for their symptoms of depression because they are scared of being judged or for financial reasons.

“7 cups of tea provides a service that is needed for a lot of college students,” Ash Bull, senior in political science, said. “Often, students feel a lot of pressure and stress as they go through university which for many can lead into serious issues like depression. If you need to talk to someone, then this is a good start and way to seek help with trained listeners.”

7 Cups of Tea was created so that there could be an alternative option available that people would feel completely comfortable using. While informing students on campus about 7 Cups of Tea, many said they believe it could be a helpful asset for students to start using.

“I think it is easy to feel weak or inadequate when feeling depressed, and it’s reassuring to know that it is a common struggle,” Natalie Bennett, junior in nutrition and kinesiology said. “The app could be a great way to team up and battle depression. For me, face-to-face interaction would ideal, but the convenience of 24/7 app and the anonymous aspect for those who might be embarrassed to seek help makes 7 Cups an asset for those dealing with depression.”

The listeners are required to complete an online training program and background check to ensure that they are competent to volunteer their time through 7 Cups of Tea. The service is provided in over 100 languages. The app is used by people of many ages; however, more college-aged students have been found to take advantage of the service more so than anyone else.

“College students tend to be faced with more stress and are seemingly more comfortable using today’s technology,” Moriarty said.

Interestingly, the social app Tumblr approached 7 Cups of Tea to form a partnership.

“Anytime a user writes a post that references depression, Tumblr sends the user a message saying that there are people who are ready and willing to listen on 7 Cups of Tea,” Moriarty said.

However, it should be clarified that 7 Cups of Tea is not a crisis hotline. It is not meant to be used by people who are suicidal or homicidal.