Texting

We have a brand new texting service with a brand new number. Now there is one more way to reach the same anonymous, confidential service.

07717 989 900

Any night 6pm-8am term-time. We reply within 10 minutes.

We are thrilled to have launched a texting service this year, which taps into a popular means of communication for young people. Some callers might feel safer contacting us via their mobile phone, rather than using the internet, which might be offered by their university halls, for example. Texting is also useful for brief information requests. Samaritans research indicates that over 80% of people under age 25 prefer sending texts to phone calls.

Texting our service will be much like Instant Messaging, which we already offer, but with the added benefit of not requiring that the caller has an internet connection.

What happens when I text you?

Just like with instant messaging, one of our computers will ring if we receive a text. A volunteer will then read the text, check if you’ve texted us before (to avoid repeating ourselves), and type a reply using our secure online system. Just like with all our other services, we will offer support and information over text. Our replies will reflect on what you said, ask you questions to expand on your thoughts, and/or give any information you might have requested.

You will get an automatic reply from us explaining how texting works if it’s your first time texting us. You’ll also get an automatic reply if we’re closed that says when we can get back to you.

We aim to get back to you within 10 minutes. If not, you will get an automated message explaining that all our volunteers are busy and they will get back to you as soon as possible.

This number is only for our texting service. If you call our texting number, the call won’t connect. Instead, please ring our helpline number 0207 631 0101.

What does texting cost you?

Our new number 07717 989 900 is a standard charge texting number. This means if you have free texts as part of your mobile plan, texting us shouldn’t cost you anything extra.

Will texting be anonymous?

Yes. We have decided to offer our service using the 116SMS platform, which is an anonymous texting service that the Samaritans have used for nearly 8 years.

For us, anonymity is the most appealing part of 116SMS. You can reach our volunteers by texting a normal 07 mobile number. When a text Nightline’s number, your number is encrypted and we are given an anonymous “client” number. This way, volunteers cannot see your number, but they can see if you have used the service before. We will be able to see our texting history within the last 100 days so we can avoid repeating ourselves if you have texted us before!

Like with our phones, our volunteers are unable to trace your number. This means you must text us your number and location if you want us to know where you are in an emergency situation.

When can I text you?

Our texting service is available night from 6pm to 8am every night of term (also weekends). If you text us outside of those hours, you will get an automatic reply and we’ll get back to you next time we open.

We support about 40 universities. Term dates vary from university to university, but we try to cover as much of the year as possible with our terms. We close the lines outside of term-time because it’s tricky to get student volunteers to staff the lines during that time. Below are the specific dates that we’re open this year (we’ve added 6 weeks of opening time to cover more of the year!)

Term Dates for 2016-17
Term 1: 19/09/2016- 16/12/2016
Term 2: 04/01/2017- 10/04/2017
Term 3: 24/04/2017- 23-06-2017
note: also closed on bank holidays in May

When you’re closed, who can I text?


Here are some resources you can reach by instant messaging or text during the daytime. They offer support or information much like we do, other than that they are not student run services:

Samaritans
for immediate confidential listening support. This is anonymous mobile texting, but not quite chat. They aim to get back to you within 30 minutes.
Text: 07725 90 90 90
Website: www.samaritans.org

Get Connected
for information and access to other youth support services via text
Text (24 hours): 80849
Website: www.getconnected.org.uk

7 Cups of Tea
for peer-to-peer chat listening and support 24/7. Logon and chat via their website (note: not text)
Website: www.7cupsoftea.com

You can also still email us at listening@nightline.org.uk for a support reply within 48 hours.