Are you aware of Nightline? a listening, emotional support service run by students for students.

Nightline is a listening, emotional support, information and supplies service, run by students for students. Nightlines are open at night, run by trained, caring, fellow student volunteers. Nightline can be contacted by phone, face to face, by email or by online chat. There are Nightline services at many universities around the UK and elsewhere. Additional services such as information and supplies are also often available. You can find out more on our about Nightlines page.

What is Nightline?

Nightline is a student listening service which is open at night and run by students for students. Every night of term, trained student volunteers answer calls, emails, instant messages, texts and talk in person to their fellow university students about anything that’s troubling them. As the Nightline volunteers are fellow students, they can directly empathise with their callers’ problems.

Each Nightline service is independent but they all follow five core principles:

  • Confidential – what callers discuss with Nightline volunteers will not be shared outside of Nightline.
  • Anonymous – callers don’t have to give any identifying details about themselves.
  • Non-judgmental – Nightline volunteers don’t judge and support callers through whatever it is they’re going through.
  • Non-directional – meaning callers decide what they want to talk about and the Nightline volunteer gives them a safe space to do this.
  • 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.”

Most Nightlines also offer information and some have supplies such as condoms, pregnancy tests and attack alarms.

To find out whether your institution is covered by a Nightline, go to our ‘find your Nightline’ page.

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 see our research page.

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.

History of Nightline

In May 1970 Professor Geoffrey Hosking (a lecturer and member of the Colchester Samaritans branch) and Malcolm France (an Anglican Chaplain) noticed the high levels of stress, anxiety and suicide amongst local students at Essex University. They believed that the mental anguish of these students could be alleviated if only they had someone to talk to. They trained a group of students to deliver emotional support to their peers over the telephone, and the first ever Nightline began.

The idea quickly caught on and in 1971 the concept was exported to Imperial College London. Since then many more Nightlines have been set up. Today over 2,100 specially trained student volunteers deliver an anonymous, confidential listening service at 36 affiliated Nightlines in the UK and Ireland. Now over 1.5 million higher education students have access to a Nightline service.

Forty years on and Nightlines remain committed to the core values of a confidential, anonymous, non-judgmental, non-directional, and non-advisory listening service for students, delivered by students.

Due to its success in the UK, the Nightline model has also been adopted by some universities in America, Canada, Switzerland, Australia and Germany.

What student callers say

“Having someone who is a student so understands the types of issues that students face … Didn’t feel so alone by being able to talk to someone.”

“A friendly voice, a safe space, a support system.”

“I felt the Nightline cared about what I wanted to say.”

“Having to explain my problem forced me to think it through completely for the first time. Having somebody to talk to made me calmer and more able to deal with problems. Volunteers are all very friendly and incredibly supportive.”

“It is anonymous so you never feel like you are getting judged. At the time I was unable to turn to anyone with my problem and just knowing someone was there made a great impact.”

“Having the opportunity to talk with someone right away – having that immediate access was very helpful, it helped knowing that if things got really bad I could call and having that ‘invisible’ support helped me cope with all that was going on. Talking gave me the strength to seek ongoing counselling to work through my situation.”

“Speaking to a person who I knew I would never see again made it easier to open up.”



Our vision is for every student in higher and further education to have access to the support offered by Nightline services so that:

  • every student is able to talk about their feelings in a safe, non-judgmental environment;
  • fewer students have their education compromised by emotional difficulties;
  • fewer students die by suicide.


Our mission is to raise the quality, profile, availability, and accessibility of Nightline services so that every student is aware of, and has access to, confidential emotional peer support, as well as the opportunity to volunteer for a Nightline.


Please visit the Nightline website for more details https  www.nightline.ac.uk


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