Students get help from app



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IU Freshman Gary Lei browsing through '7 Cups of Tea' on his smart phone. '7 Cups of Tea' is a phone app available on Android and iPhones. The app functions as a peer support group and users can chat with volunteers on a range of topics including loneliness and depression. Lionel Lim Buy Photos

Not everyone has someone to talk to about situations they are going through.

7 Cups of Tea, an iPhone/Android app and website, allows people to anonymously receive emotional support from trained listeners 24/7.

Freshman Megan Thompson said she stumbled upon this website while searching for a psychology chat. Thompson said she was interested because of the anonymity and began her trainings to become an anonymous listener.

“I just want to help people talk through their problems and what they’re struggling with, then help them come up with new ways to cope or more productive ways to react and cope with everything, which is what happens on 7 Cups of Tea,” Thomspon said.

Guests or members can log into 7 Cups of Tea and submit either a general request or a specified request by picking a person they have already spoken to or someone they think would be the best listener for them, Thompson said.

7 Cups of Tea provides training for listeners so they can be knowledgeable about requests from members and guests.

Thompson said she has completed all of her training but one session.

She said some of the training covers topics such as self-harm, eating disorders and depression.

However, Thompson said she thinks the training is too easy and listeners can pass some of the training by guessing on the multiple choice questions.

“It’s not hard, per se, which is part of why I want to get involved with it to make the trainings a little bit more harder because it’s good for anyone who wants to go to be able to do it, but at the same time, anyone who wants to talk to somebody can and sometimes that causes issues,” ?Thompson said.

As a listener, Thompson said she has already talked to about 70 people.

“There’s a lot of people that come to the website that talk about self-harm and most of the time for that, I just help them try and figure out why they hurt themselves and what kind of situations make them feel that way and try to come up with different reactions to the situation instead of hurting themselves,” ?Thompson said.

Thompson said she also talks to a lot of people who are struggling with family issues, when their parents are pushing them to try harder, although people are already doing their best.

Despite the large number of conversations, not all of the conversations are as long as others.

Thompson said of the 70 people she has talked to, only about 30 of them have stayed online for a long ?conversation.

“Sometimes people will get on the website and when a listener starts to talk to them, they’ll decide to leave because they’re not ready to talk about it yet,” ?Thompson said.

Although this happens sometimes, Thompson said she thinks it is still important for college students to have this resource.

“College is a really big stressor,” she said. “Coming to college and staying, keeping up with studies and social life at the same time ... everybody struggles with it at least once.”

Thompson said 7 Cups of Tea offers a college stress section, but it still caters to others.

“Knowing that somebody is there willing to listen to them often makes a really big difference for people, myself included,” Thompson said.

“Everyone goes through those periods where they feel like they’re alone and nobody knows what they’re going through, and it’s really helpful and uplifting to know that there’s someone trying to understand.”

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