What Is Nightline?

What is Nightline?

Nightline is a student listening service which is open at night and run by students for students. Every night of term, student volunteers answer calls, emails, instant messages, texts and talk in person to their fellow university students about anything that’s troubling them.

All Nightline services follow five core principles: confidential; anonymous; non-judgemental; non-directional; non-advisory.

Each individual Nightline is run by students for students at their university, As the specially trained Nightline volunteers are students, they can directly empathise with their callers’ problems.

Most Nightlines also offer information and some have supplies such as condoms, pregnancy tests and attack alarms. To see what services your Nightline provides, click here.

There are currently 36 Nightlines covering over 90 universities and colleges in the UK and Ireland. Over 1.5 million students have access to a Nightline service.

What is the purpose of Nightline?

For most students their time at university is a positive experience however for some it can be characterised by periods of stress, anxiety, loneliness and depression. Rising fees, academic pressures and concerns about employability can also impact on student mental wellbeing. Nightlines offer university students a safe space to talk about their feelings or whatever’s troubling them with fear of being judged or ridiculed.

For more information and research on student mental wellbeing, please view our research.

Who can contact Nightline?

Any university student can contact the Nightline at their institution. Whilst the first Nightline was set up to reduce student suicides, Nightlines today receive calls from students troubled by a variety of issues: from academic stress, 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.

What happens if I contact a Nightline?

When you contact a Nightline, you’ll speak to a trained volunteer who will listen to whatever’s on your mind and explore any thoughts or feelings that you share. You decide what to talk about, when to leave the call and whether or not you’d like to call back.

Though all Nightlines are unique, they all operate to six core principles.

  1. Confidential – what callers discuss with Nightline volunteers will not be shared outside of Nightline.
  2. Anonymous – callers don’t have to give any identifying details about themselves.
  3. Non-judgmental – Nightline volunteers don’t judge and support callers through whatever it is they’re going through.
  4. Non-directional – meaning callers decide what they want to talk about and the Nightline volunteer gives them a safe space to do this.
  5. Non-advisory – Nightline gives the caller space to make their own decision, and supports them in this rather than telling them what to do. “We’ll listen, not lecture.”
  6. Support – We aim to offer support to both the people who contact our service and our volounteers.