Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t find the answer to your question below, please do contact us.
Are all the volunteers students?
Our volunteers are all students and the service is aimed at students. As students ourselves, we may be more aware of the difficulties that students face. Sometimes it can be nice to talk to a peer.
Is Nightline anonymous?
Yes, one of our core values is anonymity. This means that you can call us without giving your name or any personal details, so you can talk about anything freely. We do not keep track of phone numbers that ring us, and have no call tracing abilities.
If you contact us by Skype, we will have access to the information you have publicly available on your Skype profile, but we keep this information confidential and manage it according to our data protection policy. Likewise, if you contact us by email, we currently don’t use software to anonymise emails. Therefore we encourage you to make an temporary Skype/email account without your personal details if you wish to contact Nightline anonymously while using our online services.
Is Nightline confidential?
Yes, confidentiality is another one of our core values. We want all our callers to feel comfortable talking to us about anything that’s on their minds. Nobody outside of Nightline will know what you talked to us about, or even that you contacted us. We don’t share anything you say or your details to anyone outside nightline. This includes the police, social services, or universities.
We do keep some statistical information that we use to help improve our service. This includes how many calls we get, the gender distribution of our callers, and broadly what the call topics are (e.g. depression, family issues, academic stress).
The only time we would ever break confidentiality is if you expressly ask us to pass on your details to someone, if we receive a court order requiring us to share any information we have, if the call is about terrorism, or if the caller threatens the safety of our volunteers.
Are you the same as The Samaritans?
We provide a listening service that is similar, but we are aimed at students in higher education and we are open overnight when many help lines are closed or experiencing a higher demand. Like Samaritans, we are a non-judgemental, non-directive listening service. However, we are more student directed, have all student volunteers, and receive proportionately fewer calls about suicide. While we do talk about suicide in some calls, we also get many calls about general academic stress and other worries. There is nothing too big or too small to talk to us about.
Why are you only open at night?
We open at night as many other services are closed; also many people find that those around them that they may otherwise talk with are unavailable at night.
Do you give advice?
We offer support and information, but we don’t give advice or opinions. We understand that it can be helpful for some people to receive guidance, but we believe that each individual is best placed to make their own decisions. We can refer you to other services that give advice, though.
Do I have to be suicidal or depressed to call Nightline?
Our callers talk to us about many different things that are troubling them, such as relationships, academic difficulties and for information such as a taxi company number. Sometimes calls can be about depression or suicide, but you don’t have to be experiencing either of these things in order to contact Nightline.
My English is not very good, how can I use the service?
We understand that in a multi-cultural city like London there are many students for whom English is not their first language. For this reason we provide an email service and an instant messaging service for those that may find it easier to contact us in writing.
My university term dates are different to Nightline’s, why is this?
We try our best to include all university dates within our opening times, but it can be very difficult to accommodate all of them. We are closed during the holidays, as many of our volunteers go home outside of London during this time.
Is the Nightline number a free-phone number?
The Nightline number is a standard landline contact number. If you wish to contact us for free, you can do so via Skype, email, or our online instant messaging service on the website. We can call you back on a UK landline telephone number if you are worried about cost.
What is your data protection policy?
Please see our Data Protection Policy for Service Users for more information.
How do I make a complaint?
Please see our Complaints Procedure for more information.