About Us

Nightline is a listening, emotional support and information service, run by students, for students.

The first Nightline was founded in 1970, aiming to address high levels of stress, anxiety and suicide amongst local students at Essex University. The idea quickly spread and, in 1973, Edinburgh Nightline was founded. Today there are 36 individual Nightlines in the UK and Ireland, made up of over 2000 specially trained student volunteers. Over 1.5 million higher education students now have access to a confidential, anonymous, non-judgmental, non-directional and non-advisory listening service should they ever need it.

We are proud to have won Nightline of the Year 2012, Best Volunteer Training and Support 2015, and Nightline Region of the Year (Scotland) 2016.

Today we operate both a phone line (0131 557 4444) and an instant messenger service, open from 8pm till 8am every night of term. We aim to support students across Edinburgh, with cross-university backing from all five of the Edinburgh-based Higher Education Institutions (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh College and Heriot-Watt University)

Meet the team 2020/21

The vast majority of our volunteers are anonymous, both for the benefit of our callers and for the welfare of our volunteers. So, who exactly are we? Edinburgh Nightline is made up of around 100 student volunteers from Edinburgh’s five higher education institutions. Our volunteers are all from different disciplines and are in various years of both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Seven of our committee are what we call public faces. Due to the nature of their work with us they must be able to speak publicly as representatives of Edinburgh Nightline. During the volunteer’s time in this position they don’t take calls. The six positions fall across three roles: the Coordinator, the Publicity and Networking Coordinators, and the Minority Officer.

Coordinators

The Coordinator role involves overseeing the whole of the committee and society overall. Coordinators are responsible for chairing meetings, managing committee relations, maintaining communication with EUSA and Edinburgh University, liaising with the National Association, and generally keeping up and working to improve the service that we provide. This role often involves individual projects that change depending on the current needs of Nightline and what the coordinators themselves feel would be a impactful step forward.

Evie

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis,.

Harry

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis,.

Publicity and Networking Coordinators

The Publicity and Networking Coordinators oversee relations between Nightline and the academic institutions of Edinburgh that are not Edinburgh University. Their aim is to make Nightline visible in their campuses through stalls, advertising and events. They publicise our amazing service across Edinburgh! This involves distributing publicity materials such as stickers, posters, flyers and postcards, reaching out to organisations and collaborating with different societies. They also liaise with the society ‘Friends of Nightline’.

Suzanna

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis,.

Ella

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis,.

Lizzie

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis,.

Minority Officer

The Minority Officer is our port of call for all minorities issues, both internally and externally. Their role is to help us understand and adapt the way we do things to make sure we’re never excluding anybody. Our Minority Officer is here to represent minorities, but never to speak for everyone. They’ll be working closely with our entire committee, and our entire society, to make sure that everyone feels seen and heard.

Rachel

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis,.

Our Principles

Nightline was founded on six principles which we still adhere to today:

Confidentiality

Anything talked through with a caller remains completely private. Discussing calls would be both disrespectful and unprofessional and would undermine the service we aim to provide for our callers.

Anonymity

All of our volunteers are anonymous. Six public faces represent our service publicly and no longer take calls, but these are the only exceptions to our strict anonymity policy. We do this to ensure that callers aren’t discouraged to call due to fear that someone they know may answer, but also to prevent stereotyping of our volunteers based on one person a caller may know.

Support

The concept of empathy guides everything we do. Empathy, unlike sympathy, is the capability to share and understand another’s feelings without diluting support with pity. We use empathy to listen, not judge or advise, in the hopes that a supportive, neutral ear can help callers sort through their emotions. We also endeavour to support our fellow volunteers, both while on shift and within the organisation generally.

Non-Judgementality

We strongly believe that the role of our listening volunteers is not to let their personal views or opinions influence how they take a call, even when these differ from the caller’s. We are here to listen, not to judge.

Non-Directionality

Only the caller decides the direction of the call. As Nightliners we can never know the full situation from one contact, and therefore any conclusions we draw may result from misunderstanding. Our volunteers are not qualified to give advice but can offer information and will listen and support for as long as this is needed.

Commitment

Nightline is a student-run organisation through and through. As such, we require a certain level of sustained involvement from our volunteers to continue running our service.

What to Expect

Contacting Nightline can be a daunting experience for many. Knowing what to expect may help to ease any worries, and allows us to give you the best possible service we can.

 

Phone Calls

Why Do You Sound Like That?

You may immediately notice that our volunteers speak in a slow and quiet voice throughout the call. They do this to provide a soothing and neutral tone throughout the conversation, and to act as a calming influence for any distressed callers. If you’d prefer it, or if you are struggling to hear the call, our volunteers are more than happy to speak a little louder on request.

Is What I Tell You Completely Confidential?

Absolutely. Any and all details of calls are kept fully confidential. We do not hold any of your personal information and we do not discuss any of our calls.Volunteers will never ask for personal details from you. You do not need to give a name or any indications about your identity at any time if you do not want to. Volunteers will also avoid giving out personal details about themselves or other volunteers, and our volunteers cannot answer whether a specific volunteer is available.

So, Whatever I Say Is Between Me And You?

There are always two volunteers present during a call. One volunteer will be receiving your call, speaking and listening to you, whilst the other is listening to the call via earpiece. Having a second volunteer present is crucial to us providing quality control for our service, and also enables us to support our volunteers. The second (listening) volunteer will not be able to speak during your call. Your call will never be recorded.

Can You Give Me Advice?

Nightline is not an advice line, so we cannot provide you with any advice. We are here to listen. A volunteer can provide you with information, if requested, such as taxi numbers, exam times, business opening hours, contact information and/or other health services.If you do request information, we will keep you on the line while we search for your request. Very rarely, we may ask you to call back if it is taking our volunteers longer than expected to locate a suitable resource. This is only because we wish only to give out the most relevant and best possible information for you.

How Long Can I Talk To You For?

There are no time limits on call duration. Our volunteers will listen for as little or as long as you like.If a call remains silent for over 30 minutes, the volunteer taking the call will inform you that they will end the call in case of a fault on the line. If this happens by mistake, please do not hesitate to call back.

Can You Call Somewhere For Me?

If a caller feels that their own life is at imminent risk for any reason, they may request for our volunteer to call for help on their behalf. This is the only situation where a call can be placed on behalf of a caller. In this situation, the volunteer will need some identifying details from the caller to pass on to emergency services. These details will not be passed on to any other individuals or recorded by our volunteers in any way, and will only be used for the purpose of dispatching an ambulance to an accurate location.

Can I Talk To You About Anything?

Yes, we are a listening service and are available to listen to you talk about anything, no matter how big or small you feel it is. We have some policies in place to protect our volunteers from calls that are manipulative, abusive, or excessively detailed. We will give a warning explaining which of these policies are being breached, but if the caller continues to act in this way the call will be terminated. Under no circumstance will we accept calls in which the caller is masturbating.

As a non-judgemental service, we generally will avoid labelling callers in any way. We do however have two exceptions to this. Where a caller seems to be broaching the topics of rape or suicide we may introduce these terms before the caller has used them themselves. This is because our research has shown that in these circumstances it is helpful to broach the subject with these words. If you ask us to avoid these terms we will be happy to do so. Please note we may not necessarily use the legal definition of rape, but use the term to refer to non-consensual sexual acts.

 

Online Chat

Online chats follow much the same principles as telephone calls. If there are no volunteers available, you will receive a message informing you of this. We encourage you to call back at a later time when volunteers may be available again.

How Long Can I Talk To You For?

There are no time limits for online chats. Our volunteers will listen for as little or as long as you like.If an online chat remains silent for 15 minutes, our volunteers will send a message informing you that they are going to exit the chat in case there is a fault in the line. If you wish to call back, please do at any time.

I Have Messaged Previously… Can We Pick Up From What I Talked About Before?

We take every call individually which means that we cannot discuss the content of previous calls, even if they claim to be from the same caller. This applies to our Instant Messenger service. If a caller has contacted Nightline previously, they should not expect our volunteers to know what has already been discussed but should instead give a brief summary of relevant thoughts at the start of the call.

I Am Finding It Difficult To Reach Your Service… Why Is This?

Whilst we endeavour to reach all our calls, due to being a volunteer run service, on busy nights we sometimes do not have the capacity to reach all calls. We are always working on ways to improve this so please do not be disheartened if we do not answer your call the first time, we may be busy taking another call.We will never knowingly miss a call, or hang up. If we do abruptly hang up, this may be due to a fault in the line or the network — please call back as soon as you can.

Is Instant Messenger Completely Confidential?

Absolutely. As with a phone call, any and all details of calls are kept fully confidential. We do not hold any of your personal information and we do not discuss any of our conversations.

You Sound Robotic… Am I Talking To A Real Person?

All responses are thought out and typed out by the volunteers taking the call. Two volunteers will work together when responding to an online chat. We work hard to support you as best we can, but please understand that, due to our commitment to being non-directional, and that we are here to listen and support you without giving advice, you may occasionally feel that Instant Messenger can seem a little robotic. Whenever you contact us, you are always speaking to a real volunteer.

The same policies are in place for our volunteers during online chats as in phone calls, and these will again not affect callers using our service for its intended purpose.