Nightline service celebrates 40th anniversary

Upset boy
Published on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 12:41
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

A student helpline at the University of Sheffield is celebrating 40 years of supporting its peers making it one of the oldest Nightline schemes in the country.


Nightline, run by student volunteers for students, is an anonymous phone and email service offering an ear to listen, emotional support, as well as information, from 8pm until 8am when few other schemes are available.

During the last 40 years, organisers believe that more than 750 student volunteers have received over 50,000 phone calls.

Services like Nightline have been proven to help reduce anxiety and improve student mental health as well as acting as a first port of call for many seeking help.

Lydia Akinola of the University of Sheffield's Nightline service said: "We feel 40 years continuity of a student run service to support other students is a great achievement. By ensuring access to support and information throughout the night, when other services are closed, University and Union information is always just a phone call away.

"We have seen a rising trend in the volume of calls and have taken on more volunteers as time has gone on to facilitate this. As more and more people have access to mobile phones, it becomes easier for them to get in contact, rather than having to rely on a shared phone or pay phone where there is the possibility of being over heard. Our e-listening service is a major change in how people can access the service and allows us to reach more people who would not otherwise get in contact. We also provide information as part of our service and the internet and collaboration with other services to find sources of information has drastically changed the way we do this.

"The University's approach is a down-to earth, innovative, friendly and community based 'straight forward' approach. By being open 8pm to 8am every night during term time we are available when other services may be closed."

The University's service is celebrating its anniversary on Nightline Awareness Week which runs from 12-18 November 2012 and will look to raise awareness with a range of events including a giant purple picture frame for people to get their picture taken with Percy the penguin mascot.

The University has a strong Nightline training procedure and expects some of the highest standards out of all similar schemes across the country as well as offering a very good and consistent standard of service and the Student Volunteers' benefit by learning useful skills for future employment.

Sheffield Nightline is a member of the Nightline Association, a national charity that supports Nightlines across the country. Sheffield Nightline has hosted regional conferences for the National Association and members of Sheffield Nightline have volunteered on the national committee as well as taking part in an European wide conference this summer.

Source: ©University of Sheffield

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