Instant Messaging

“It has been really helpful to have a chat with somebody about the problems I am having.”

— Chat Service User

As well as calling us or sending us an email, you can now get in touch with Nightline online, via instant messaging (also known as chat). Chat can be nice if you prefer to write out your thoughts, but like to get an instant reply.


Our principles remain the same online; Nightline is totally committed to confidentiality and is here to listen and provide support, whatever your situation. Like our phone lines, our chat account is available for support between 6pm and 8am during term time.

How do I chat to Nightline?

If you would like to chat to us online, you will need to download the Skype software here: www.skype.com. Just follow the simple instructions on the website.

When you have set up your Skype account, simply click ‘Add contact’ at the top of the Skype box. Enter the username London Nightline Chat and click ‘add selected contact’. Then right click on our contact name (nightline.chat) and select ‘Send IM’ to start a conversation.

If you are already a Skype user, we recommend that you create a new account for yourself to call Nightline to protect your anonymity.

Our Skype chat service is available during our usual opening hours, 6pm to 8am.

Add and Chat to London Nightline to Skype

What happens when I chat with you?

When you start a chat, one of our office computers ring so our volunteers know to respond to you. We will then offer the same listening, support, and information that we offer on the phones. We will then give you space to write out your thoughts, and actively listen to you by reflecting on what you said and asking questions to explore the topic further.

When you chat with us, a volunteer can only take one chat on a computer at any given time, so we can give you our full attention. If you go idle, we will send you a few reminders that we’re still there before ending the chat. You can always contact us again if you come back after going idle for a while.

Is Skype chat anonymous and confidential?

When you call us, we can see your Skype username, and any information you share with contacts. Skype shows this information automatically. We recommend that you create an anonymous account for yourself to call Nightline, as you may wish to keep your personal profile private. Also, to protect the anonymity of both our volunteers and our callers, we are unable to offer video chats.

We have set Skype to not keep copies of chat transcripts. We keep the same confidentiality policy for Skype as we do for all our other modes of contact, so you can rest assured chat to us in confidence.

When can I chat with you?

We are open during the night from 6pm to 8am every night of term (also weekends). On Skype you will see a green circle (Online) next to our name, indicating that we are available. If the circle is grey, we are offline.

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

You didn’t reply to my chat!

Our chat lines are open 6pm-8am during term time. We’re unable to reply to chats that are sent outside that time, but you can contact us again when our lines are open. If our chat lines are closed, you’ll see a grey circle (Offline) next to our username on Skype. If our chat lines are closed, you can call us on 0207 631 0101 and the answering message will tell you when we’re next open.

When all our computers are busy, we mark our status on Skype with the red circle (Do Not Disturb) next to our name. If this is our status, you can still send us a short chat message to let us know that you would like to contact us as soon as someone becomes available, and we will reply to you as soon as we can. Alternatively, you can try to contact us by phone or email.

What if the circle next to our name on Skype is green (Online) and still not responding? This hopefully should never happen, but this would mean that we’re having technical problems with the notification on our chat. If this happens, try calling us on Skype or on 0207 631 0101 to notify us that the chat isn’t working and we’ll fix it as soon as possible.

When you’re closed, who can I chat with?

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

The Mix
for information and access to other youth support services
Webchat: http://www.themix.org.uk/get-support/speak-to-our-team
Email: help@themix.org.uk
Website: www.themix.org.uk for support forums and more

7 Cups of Tea
for peer-to-peer chat listening and support 24/7. Logon and chat via their website.
Website: http://www.7cups.com

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