As lectures across London universities wrap up for 6pm, a small group of students make their way to an undisclosed location to spend the night. Switching on the computers and opening the phone lines, they settle in for their shifts as London Nightline volunteers.
London Nightline is a student-run anonymous listening and information service, where students can talk to trained volunteers about anything and everything without fear of judgment and in complete confidence.
One volunteer, OT, is looking forward to reconnecting with London students on September 13, when London Nightline will once again be open and contactable every night from 6pm–8am.
Reflecting on their time at Nightline, OT talked through their decision to join the organisation and the difference they hope to make.
“In high school, before I even went to uni, I advocated for mental health and I wanted to bring that with me when I came to university,” they said. “I was at a volunteering fair in my school, and I saw Nightline and thought it was an interesting concept.
“I didn’t know that students could help out other students and I thought it was a really nice opportunity for me to be a part of, so I applied.”
Two years on from first joining, OT remains as passionate about, and devoted to, Nightline’s mission–Students there for Students–as they were at their high school fair.
“As students you experience the stress and the pressure of being at uni. It doesn’t matter how old you are, just being a student means there’s always going to be pressure,” they said.
“A lot of the time, you don’t want to talk to someone you know about the pressures you’re under. Nightline is a really important way for students who need an outlet to speak about their issues.
“Even though they might feel too shy to talk to their friends, Nightline will always be there and be non-judgmental.”
OT explained a typical shift takes place with three other volunteers as well as extra supporting officers. The volunteers answer calls or respond to instant messages and emails. The phones and computers remain on the entire night, poised to ring or ping loudly should someone reach out while the volunteers catch some sleep.
Every phone call and message receives an instant response from an anonymous ear, there to alleviate some of the weight from the other end of the conversation.
For OT, London Nightline gave them a place to meet new people, the confidence to be more extroverted, and listening abilities that have allowed them to better be there for their own friends.
“It’s definitely a life changing experience… and definitely something worth doing during your uni time.”
If you are a student in London and want someone to talk to, you can call Nightline at +44 207 631 0101, Skype them at londonnightline, email in at email@example.com, or chat with them online.
If you are a student in London and interested in volunteering for Nightline you can visit their website here.