Mental health awareness is a current hot topic of conversation in society. Many individuals around the country are struggling to find affordable counseling or therapy options. Some may not have the financial means to afford therapy while others may not have adequate insurance to help alleviate these costs. One option for therapy services which can be utilized by individuals who are finding affordable counseling can be the website 7 Cups of Tea.
7 Cups of Tea is an online service which provides a variety of therapeutic options for dealing with mental health issues. The online emotional support service, launched in 2013, offers users the opportunity to anonymously connect with trained individuals who can provide emotional support for daily struggles or mental health issues. 7 Cups of Tea offers individual sessions, group chats, and forums where popular topics are discussed. A plan of action is offered for users to navigate through useful tools and resources to help overcome daily struggles or emotional issues. There are a variety of benefits to using this online service.
Benefits to 7 Cups of Tea
- Users are offered a 3-day free trial
- Following the trial, the service cost for unlimited interaction with a therapist is approximately $37.50 a week, or $150 for an entire month
- Users can change their therapist at any time
- Interested users can choose to forego payment and engage with trained listeners instead of licensed professionals
- Listeners are trained in active listening
- Users can connect without providing any personal identification about themselves to listeners or other users
- Anyone 13 years of age or older can use the service
- Users have a wide variety of listeners to connect with, based on their personal preferences
- The service offers mock mental health evaluations (These are for personal use only. Professional diagnosis is not offered by this service.)
- The service offers options to connect with other users who may be experiencing similar issues
- Listeners utilize mindfulness skills to help users
- Personal Strategy for developing Coping Skills
- A wide variety of resources
- Individuals can volunteer to become listeners and are offered a variety of training courses to become better equipped for being a listener
Set up Process for Paid Services
Upon going to the main page of the 7 Cups of Tea website, potential users can enter an automated signup process by clicking on the “Considering Therapy?” button which is easily located on the top of the main page. This prompts the therapy request bot, which is an interactive process. The therapy request bot (named Sophia during my use) asks a few questions regarding your age, previous experience with therapy, level of support, and duration of struggle.
The 7 Cups of Tea offers a great platform for connecting with others who are trained listeners or licensed professionals. However, navigation of the website is a little tricky. The homepage offers limited options for first-time users to explore. The main page features a wide variety of positive information but does not provide adequate instructions for navigating to the free selection of services. The site seems geared towards being a competitor for other online counseling services by providing affordable therapy online at a minimal cost.
It takes a few clicks to locate the section where the free listeners could be reviewed. To find this location, attempt to log in had to be made. In the tab options at the top of the login page, select chat to be able to “Browse Listeners”. A page of listeners is then provided with various ratings such as newbie, veteran and advanced. There are also options for licensed professionals that are labeled with a “Subscribe” button. However, while ratings and brief introductions are provided on the listeners, there is little information regarding these ratings or how long these individuals have been volunteering on the platform.
Once a listener was selected, there is a waiting cue with an estimated time provided. The estimated wait time was not very accurate but following a brief wait, an option to leave a message or continue to wait is provided to the user. Selecting an available listener was slightly difficult. One listener was available but was exiting the session before any communication could be had. An additional listener was then sought but took several minutes to find availability.
7 Cups of Tea offers individuals the ability to seek out emotional support from the comfort of their own home without an intrusive process. Navigation of the website and information regarding the free services could use some improvement. Additionally, finding available users while understanding the provided rating system can be a bit overwhelming for someone seeking a human being to connect with.
The site provides strategy plans and quizzes regarding mental health awareness at no cost to users. There are also group forums and group chats that can be accessed where users can view and participate in conversations, both receiving and giving support to others. Similarly, the service offers the ability to have an unlimited connection to a professional therapist for a reduced cost. The provision of anonymity is a highlight of the service for users who are concerned that others may negatively view their attempt to seek help or support in their life.
Overall, a recommendation for the use of 7 Cups of Tea is made. New users should take some time to become familiar with the various aspects of the website. Given the cost for paid service and the variety of benefits from the free services, 7 Cups of Tea provides individuals with a wonderful alternative to traditional therapy.