What We’re Up To: Announcing Our New Partners, Active Minds and the International Bipolar Foundation
July 30, 2013
We’ve been building, testing, editing, redeveloping, and generally working around the clock to make sure 7 Cups of Tea provides the best emotional support experience for our members. Sometimes we’re neck deep in code, but other times, we’re out in the field talking to mental health, wellness, and other community organizations.
It might sound like hyperbole, but there really are many great organizations staffed by awesome people doing amazing work in the emotional health & wellness space. NAMI, Autism Speaks, Alcoholics Anonymous, the American Cancer Society…the list goes on! We think it’s so important to further emotional health awareness, support, and treatment while working to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and seeking emotional support. To that end we’re happy to announce our new partners, Active Minds and the International Bipolar Foundation!
About Active Minds
Active Minds is a grass roots college campus organization that empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking. Currently, Active Minds has more than 350 chapters on campuses across the United States. Chapters are student-run, and offer programs aimed to increase the awareness of mental health related services, as well as provide education and advocacy resources. Active Minds aims to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, and create a comfortable environment for an open conversation about mental health issues.
About the International Bipolar Foundation
The International Bipolar Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those who have been diagnosed with Bipolar. The mission of the IBF is tri-fold: to eliminate Bipolar Disorder through the advancement of research, to promote and enhance care and support services, and to erase associated stigma through public education. The IBF provides many resources for the Bipolar community, including regular webinars, events, and online materials and other publications.
Our partnerships means that Active Minds and the International Bipolar Foundation can add 7 Cups of Tea to their roster of support services. We’ll be working with Active Minds chapters to help train students on campus to become Listeners, giving them the platform to provide emotional support to other students when they need it. We'll be working with the International Bipolar Foundation to provide peer conversations through their online communities. Listener's who come from Active Minds and the IBF will soon have direct donation buttons on their profiles, so individuals can help support these organizations directly.
Interested in partnering with 7 Cups of Tea? Let us know!
July 17, 2013
When an unexpected stress or life experience throws you off, it can be hard to regain your balance. Life has a funny way of getting in the way of living sometimes. In the moment, you might question your ability to cope with the stress. You might wonder how it is that you just simply can’t deal.
But you can deal. And you do it all the time. The trick is to remember what works by being mindful of your tried and true coping mechanisms.
It might help to make a list of your positivity boosting activities. Ask yourself, “what makes me feel good?” Then, write them down. Put them in your wallet. Post them to your bulletin board. Refer back to this list whenever you start to feel stressed.
What do you do to make yourself feel better? Ride a bike? Watch a movie? Take a walk? Play a game? Let us know!
July 1, 2013
What is “active listening?”
In order to provide great emotional support on 7 Cups of Tea, we train individuals to be better Active Listeners. Active Listening is different from the normal listening we do in our everyday conversations. Instead of just “waiting to talk” or thinking about what we’re going to say once our conversation partner stops speaking, active listening requires that the listener completely focus on absorbing, comprehending, and reflecting what the speaker is saying.
Active listening is a great technique to help people feel better when they are going through hard times, dealing with loss, struggling with health issues, or just need to vent. Because active listening directs all focus towards the speaker, it removes potential sources of stress, conflict and discomfort that can happen in a regular conversation.
There are three important concepts that listeners should keep in mind when active listening:
1. Demonstrate Care - An active listener demonstrates that they really care for the other person. Contrary to what you might think, demonstrating you care does not mean trying to solve the other person’s problems or brushing them off as insignificant. Do not interrupt. Do not provide unsolicited advice on what you would do. Just acknowledge the person and their story.
2. Summarize - Make the other person aware that you heard what they said by simply repeating it. You can repeat back exact words, or summarize in your own words what was uttered. Remember, the emphasis is always on other person talking. This means that you’ll likely say “Hmm”, “Okay”, “I understand”, and “Sounds like...” several times. Try not to speak more than 15% of the time.
3. Feel Empathy - It’s easy to say “be empathetic” but it’s harder to do. When you’re active listening, be mindful to think about how you would feel if you were in the other person’s shoes. Ask yourself, what would I be feeling, doing, sensing, if I were them? By making an effort to empathize, your responses to the other person will naturally give off the compassion they need to feel better.
Become a listener and learn more about active listening.