Aberystwyth Nightline: Here to listen

HAVE you seen Nigel the bear walking around the university giving ‘Free Hugs’? Well whether you have or you haven’t, his name is Nigel Nightline. He is the mascot for Nightline, a confidential listening service run by students, for students who want to talk about anything. When students come to university we all go through lots of emotions; we all go through many situations and events that may affect us all in very different ways. Sometimes it is hard to talk about those issues to people, especially close friends or family. That’s where Nightline comes in.

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Nightline was founded in 1970 at Essex University by Professor Geoffrey Hosking, as an initiative to help reduce the suicide rate at the university. He noticed the high levels of stress, anxiety and suicide amongst local students at Essex University. They believed that the mental anguish of these students could be alleviated if only they had someone to talk to. They trained a group of students to deliver emotional support to their peers over the phone, and the first ever Nightline began. Today there are over 2,100 trained volunteers and 1.5 million students that have access to a Nightline service.

Anyone can go to Nightline and talk about anything, whether its something very personal that has affected them, or someone to talk to for comfort. Nightline is there to listen to you. Every volunteer in the service is anonymous, which means you won’t know who is there at the other end, and they won’t know who you are. So you can talk to that person about anything and they won’t tell anyone what you have told that Nightliner.

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Now some people have asked me ‘what sort of calls do you usually get?’ The answer is that there is no type of call that we usually get. Nightline is there to listen to anyone about anything. Everyone goes through their own situations and everyone has individual reactions to those, that’s why every call is taken with care and not assuming or judging against anyone’s feelings. But callers don’t need to have gone through a tough time or situation. Callers can talk about whatever they want to talk about. Everyone needs someone to talk to, we all do.

Nightline doesn’t just offer a call service. There is also an Instant Messaging and Email service. Some callers may feel worried about the Nightliner recognizing their voice, as much as this would not affect the professionalism of the Nightliner, it is completely understandable. The instant messaging service can be found on www.nightline.aber.ac.uk. However, if you feel like you need more time to talk about your feelings in another way, you can also email Nightline, on [email protected] and they will reply to you within 48 hours.

Nightline has achieved great feats since it began. Those who volunteer are great attributes to our university because they not only help so many people, but don’t take any credit for it from others around. If you feel that you need to call someone from Nightline then don’t hesitate to them. You can find the number on the back of your Aber Card or on posters around the University. Remember, Nightline is here to listen to you.