Being in university is not as much of a party as it is made out to be. Some students are away from home for the first time. They may experience homesickness and even loneliness. Others may experience financial difficulties or problems coping with academic pressures. Most students feel the need to speak to someone at night when regular support services are unavailable.
Nightline is a remarkable student listening service that is open at night. It is run by students for students. Every night of term, student volunteers answer calls, e-mails, instant messages, texts and talk in person to their fellow students about anything that’s troubling them. As the specially trained Nightline volunteers are students, they can directly empathise with their caller’s problems.
All Nightline services follow 5 core principles : confidential, anonymous, non-judgemental, non-directional and non-advisory (they listen, not lecture).
There are currently 36 Nightlines covering over 90 universities and colleges in the UK and Ireland. More than 1.5 million students have access to a Nightline service. To date 434 Nightline volunteers have accessed the courses which equip them with the knowledge, tools and skills to respond more competently and confidently to callers who self-harm or express suicidal thoughts whilst maintaining good mental health themselves.
Whilst the first Nightline was set up to reduce student suicides, Nightlines today receive calls from students troubled by a variety of issues: bullying or debt to loneliness, depression or bereavement; from arguments with flatmates or worries about a friend to addictions, eating disorders or self-harm; from relationship or family problems to sexuality, sexual abuse or abortion. Nothing is too big or small to contact Nightline about – whatever’s troubling a caller, Nightline is there to listen, all term, all night.