A college sophomore comes back to her dorm after a long day at school. She had a miserable 8 a.m. class, she attended an archery club meeting at lunch, she had an essay to write and statistics homework to complete; all before her class at 3 p.m. At 5 p.m., she starts a five-hour shift at Lobo’s and then returns to her dorm to study for an upcoming psychology midterm until 3 a.m.
This typical day in the life of a college student doesn’t even mention relationships, family, social or personal distress that most college students face on a daily basis.
According to the American College Health Association, 33.4 percent of college students reported to have felt too depressed to function properly. With all of the adversity that one faces during the years of college, it can be extremely difficult to function or stay relatively happy.
With the progression of technology, comes the progression of many other things, such as help with anxiety and depression. The “7 Cups of Tea” app for Android and iPhone users does just that.
The app is completely free, and completely anonymous, making it very accessible and convenient for anyone to use. The app connects a distressed individual to one of 70,000 trained listeners, all of which remains anonymous, making the app a useful resource for those who are unable to talk to friends, family or an expensive professional.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt sad about something, and nobody was there to help,” said Devin Wilkes, a third year business major at Sonoma State. “7 Cups [of Tea] was a huge help when I was overwhelmed with personal issues I had a couple weeks ago. My listener was so understanding and entirely supportive. Sometimes you just can’t go to your friends with all of your problems.”
The smartphone app is basically a best friend in one’s pocket. When the listener says they know how one feels, they actually do. Many listeners specialize in a specific area of depression or anxiety, such as body-image and relationship issues. These listeners have faced similar problems themselves, knowing how to deal with these issues from experience.
“I’ve definitely been stressed out by school to the point where I’ve felt the need to talk it out, but I’m always so busy,” said freshman Leah Christensen, whose major is undeclared. “Knowing now that there’s an app for that, which I can use anywhere at anytime is, so comforting.”
As most students are on a budget, this free service is a convenience to use, since professional counselors can charge hundreds of dollars for one session.
In the busy college world of homework, exams, financial issues and relationship issues, knowing that one always has a friend to talk to can be priceless. The best part is that all it takes is pulling out one’s phone, rather than one’s wallet.
A fact that most are aware of is that anxiety and depression can all too often lead to self-harm, or even death by suicide.
The makers of the app urge those who are in life- threatening situations to call the Suicide Helpline at 1-800-273-8255 immediately, as “7 Cups of Tea” is for those who just need someone to talk to. The trained listeners at “7 Cups of Tea” are not trained in suicide prevention aid or emergencies.