The moment everything changed for Tonia Jahshan, founder of Sipology by Steeped Tea and Kids Help Phone champion

Communities mobilized

On the surface, Tonia Jahshan seemed to have it all. Her premier tea business — Sipology by Steeped Tea — was booming thanks to her successful 2012 pitch on Dragons’ Den, which won the support of investors Jim Treliving and David Chilton. She had three beautiful children. She was a role model for women entrepreneurs everywhere.

But in early 2018, it all came crashing down. Suffering from extreme burnout, Tonia experienced a mental health crisis that required a five-week stay in a Guelph hospital. Separated from her family and her business and struggling to heal, Tonia had a reckoning with herself.

“I came out of that experience knowing I had to change everything,” she says. “I had to change the way I conducted my life to stay healthy.”

Reflecting on what led her to the point of crisis, Tonia realized that stigma and a fear of being judged had stopped her from asking for help before it was too late — and that too many others are similarly suffering in silence.

After returning to work, a colleague told Tonia about a conference she’d been to where a young man had spoken about his own mental health crisis as a teen. Contemplating suicide, he’d contacted Kids Help Phone and immediately found hope for the future through the listening ear on the other end of the phone. Tonia’s colleague encouraged her to consider a partnership with Kids Help Phone to help reduce the stigma around mental health and support a critical service that’s changing and saving lives.

Tonia didn’t hesitate. In 2019, Sipology by Steeped Tea launched a new cause marketing partnership that sees $2 from the sale of any of Sipology’s special colour-changing teas — Pineapple Potion, Unicorn Kisses and Peachy Keen — donated directly to our innovative texting service, Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone.

Tonia hopes that by raising awareness, young people and adults alike will understand that there are options available for accessing support, wherever and whenever they may need it. “There’s help out there,” she says.

No one should have to suffer in silence.

 

These days, in addition to continuing to grow her business, Tonia is working on a speaker series focused on drawing attention to the topic of mental health. She wants people to talk.

“Given the world we live in, I think mental health will be one of the most important things we have to talk about going forward,” she says. “More businesses need to consider supporting mental health leaders like Kids Help Phone. Our children and our children’s children will need them more than ever.”