This is a re-published post, originally published in 2018.
As a psychology major currently in university, I have always been interested in mental health – its stereotypes, its emerging need, and finally its awareness and acceptance. Why should we ignore mental health, if we pay attention to its physical counterpart? Isn’t the mind also an organ?
Thinking about it, asking for any sort of help isn’t an easy task. Although we are social humans, we like to be self-dependant and sometimes we come into denial about the help we need. Partly, we may be held back by the simple fact that today, at the heights of modernity into our lifestyles, there is no one to ask help from.
A similar tale exists in the background to a care revolution, spreading internationally.
7 Cups is a Y Combinator start-up founded by psychologist Glen Moriarty in July 2013, operating as a website/app which provides online therapy and free support to people experiencing emotional distress by connecting them with trained listeners.
The very need of such a caring being was supported by individuals who were ready to dedicate themselves to the community – and together, 7 Cups has emerged to start and spread a Caring Revolution.
The inspiration behind the 7 Cups working principle is based on a poem by Lu Tong (795-835 CE), entitled “7 Cups of Tea” which is used to create a special 7 Cups Program that guides a listener to provide appropriate dedication into the community.
The 7 main steps in this program include Open, Attune, Practice, Live, Accept, Care, and Commit – all actions helping the listener to grow.
In the summer of 2018, after ending my first year at university to attain a bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology, I stumbled upon the 7 Cups website whilst looking for something to do to spend the summer holidays. Volunteering and being a part of a Caring Revolution was definitely appealing.
After taking a listener oath and undergoing basic listener training, I was set to serve the 7 Cups community as a listener. My experience was largely supported by a mentor offering to be of any assistance and soon enough, I was comfortable with the whole listening process. Listeners are able to display a list of topics they are experienced or able to deal with, and whilst not all chats are based on these, there are discussions on various different topics. The flexibility of topics is generally very accommodating, with the listening team helping each other out by reference of chats if not being handled well by one individual.
Every individual has his/her boundaries – and the great thing about 7 Cups is that it stresses on self-care too.
How many times do we see a company being concerned about the safety and well-being of its volunteers?
On 7 Cups, self-care breaks are largely accepted and encouraged.
Whilst listening can sound an easy task, it is not as simple as it sounds. Like any other crucial job, listeners face a risk of burnout, and thus the self-care teachings on 7cups are simply other life skills learnt.
To maintain knowledge and understanding, as well as appropriate listening skills, 7 Cups has training guides which help a listener get accustomed to some topics that come up in a chat. These include training in ADHD, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Bullying, College Life, Crisis Intervention, Diabetes CBT, Eating Disorders, Exercise Motivation, Family Stress, Forgiveness, Grief, Panic Attacks and other topics. These wide boundaries ensure most topics being covered and serve as great information and learning tools in general as well.
Apart from the training guides, 7 Cups helps improve active listening skills by handling various mock chats and active listening examinations. 7 Cups also verifies listeners to approve their active listening skills and mark quality within the community.
Listeners are encouraged to keep on growing by different growth paths, appreciative teams, and badges which serve as awards for different milestones. It is a community in which growth is endless.
Alongside 1-on-1 private messages with a listener, 7 Cups offers Group Support Rooms based on various topics, all supported by separate Communities featuring forums with respective threads targeted to keep discussions and member-support on-going.
In addition to the trained active listeners, 7 Cups offers paid professional therapy services, with therapists all over the world enlisted, some even offering therapy on the online platform.
This Caring Revolution has indeed proved successful – today, 7 Cups is widespread in above 189 countries, in 140 different languages – making it a global platform, growing every day. With over 260,000 volunteer listeners about 1.9 million people are helped each month.
As a current intern in the internship program offered on 7 Cups, I encourage all other youth and members of our society to explore and use the 7 Cups site – it is after-all, a free, non-judgemental, and global space to share what’s on your mind.
Volunteering is definitely something you can dedicate yourself to in helping out in your respective community, but on 7 Cups, as part of a Caring Revolution, you get to serve the world.
Discover more about the 7 Cups community here: https://www.7cups.com/17156123