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.

As of the end of October, we are now using a new Instant Messaging provider to run this service. We hope it’s going to be a smooth transition, but if you can’t get through, please check our twitter to see if we’re having issues, or call us to let us know you can’t get through.

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, we now offer instant messaging directly from our website. It should pop up on the side of your screen, but if not you can find it above. When we’re online, you will be able to click a link to talk to us. It’s as simple as that!

Please note: We used to offer Skype Chat, but no longer do so as the IM Service has taken its place.

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.

If you have any technical difficulties, please try again, or alternatively contact us through one of our other formats.

Is Instant Messaging anonymous and confidential?

Instant Messaging us is now completely anonymous. The software we use to offer our IM service scrambles any information, such as your IP address, before it gets to us, through a secure server. This is one of the main reasons why we now use this service instead of Skype Chat; so you can retain your anonymity. Our confidentiality policy is the same across all formats, so you can talk to us in complete confidence.

Chat transcripts are only kept for 100 days in a secure server, per our retention policy, but the only person that has access to these is our Coordinator, who only does so on rare occasions.

When can I chat with you?

We are open during the night from 6pm to 8am every night of term (also weekends). When we’re offline, the pop up box will say so, and the same is true when we’re online.

We support about 60 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.

Term Dates for 2018-2019

Term 1: 10/09/2018 – 14/12/2018
Term 2: 07/01/2019 – 08/04/2019
Term 3: 23/04/2019 – 21/06/2019

Alternative Resources

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:

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

The Mix
for information and access to other youth support services
Website: 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.

You can also still email us at for a support reply within 48 hours.