Durham Nightline: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Nightline?

Durham Nightline is a student listening service which is open between the hours of 9pm and 7am, each night of term. This means that every night, two student volunteers will be available throughout the night, to answer phone calls and reply to instant messages from other students who want to talk.

What happens when I contact Nightline?

Students can contact Nightline via the phone or our Instant Messaging service. In both cases, you will speak to a trained volunteer who will be there for as long as you need, to listen and talk to you. Nightline volunteers will never try to tell you what to do or offer advice – whilst all volunteers are trained in active listening and are aware of many issues which can affect students, we are not professionals. Each person’s situation is unique and therefore what may work for one person, is not guaranteed to work for another – the volunteer will talk to you about your situation and help you to work through your thoughts, but they will not try to lecture, advise or judge your situation.

What can I talk about?

Absolutely anything. Students contact Nightline about a variety of things but each and every call or message is equally important and whatever it is that you talk about, volunteers will treat you in the same way. We talk to people about relationships, mental health, academic stress, family problems, homesickness, drugs, identity, grief and bereavement, social anxiety and late night thoughts. We also talk to people who cannot sleep at night, who are worried about a friend, who are on their way home from a night out or who need a break from an all-nighter in the library but whose friends are all asleep. We talk to people who need taxi numbers, take-away numbers, college contacts or information on local services. Whatever it is that you would like to talk about, our volunteers will be there to listen to you.

Why can volunteers not advise me?

Volunteers aren’t professionals and therefore can’t offer advice on your situation. Whilst friends and family may know your situation and be able to offer an opinion, Nightline volunteers offer a non-judgemental listening ear who will not judge your situation in any way, but instead be there to offload to and chat things through with. We will focus the conversation on you and we’ll give you the opportunity to talk at your own pace, about anything that you like – we think it’s important to be able to talk without the fear of being judged or told what to do.

Will the volunteer ever have to report our conversation to anyone else?

No, any conversation you have with the volunteer is completely confidential and will not be shared with anyone else. (Unless the conversation concerns someone under 18, or a vulnerable adult, at risk)

What happens if I tell a volunteer that I am feeling suicidal?

It is absolutely okay to talk to our volunteers about suicidal thoughts. The volunteer will talk to you about how you’re feeling, how long you might have been feeling this way and how these thoughts are affecting you. If you would like the volunteer to contact the emergency services, they can do so, and if not, they will respect your decision and stay on the line with you. The conversation will remain between you and the volunteer and the information will never be passed on to anyone else without your permission.

Is the service anonymous?

Yes, all contact with Nightline is completely anonymous – the caller’s identity and that of the volunteer. If it is the case that you recognise the voice of the volunteer and are uncomfortable speaking to them, there is no problem in asking to speak to the other volunteer on duty. We do not receive the phone number or email address of the caller and your identity will always remain non-traceable unless you choose to disclose it.

How can I contact Nightline?

Our phone number can be found on the back of your campus card or on DUO. If you would prefer to contact us via Instant Messenger, you can follow the link on the website, community.durham.ac.uk/nightline/.

How do I become a Nightline volunteer?

Nightline usually train new volunteers three times over the course of the year. If you are interested in volunteering, sign up to one of our training weekends via our website, Facebook page (www.facebook.com/durhamnightline) or send us an email on nightline@durham.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.





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