Interview with Nightline

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Nightline is national charity offering a confidential listening service to students aiming to support mental health, stress and general problems regarding students’ everyday lives. Increasingly, it is found that mental health is overlooked, regarded secondary to physical health problems. Nevertheless, statistics show that 1 in 6 people in the past week have experienced a common mental health problem according to the Mental Health Foundation. While between 2003 and 2013, 18,220 people with mental health problems took their own life in the UK a study shows from the University of Manchester.

Lancaster University’s Nightline strives to reduce these figures, promoting a safe, non-judgmental environment for students to express their views and feelings. Here at Lancaster, Nightline is split into two teams: call-takers and the publicity team. Both teams are extremely motivated and determined to make a difference to university life. Students can take part in either one of these two teams and aim to reduce After Nightline Awareness Week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lancaster Nightline’s Publicity Coordinator, Charlotte Marlor, who gave me an insight to the charity organisation here at Lancaster.

What does the national Nightline Charity do?

The Nightline Association is a network that was formed in 2006, comprising of different university Nightline’s and it aims to offer all students in further education a reliable listening service which they can use.

What does Lancaster University Nightline do?

We are run entirely for students by students here in Lancaster. We aim to provide a reliable night-time contact point offering a wealth of free information or just a non-judgemental listening ear. All calls made to us are confidential, and remain completely anonymous. Students can contact us by telephone, email, instant messaging or Skype and we are open every night from 10pm to 8am.

What past events have you held?

Every year we take part in a national ‘Nightline Awareness Week’ which has just been. This year we gave out free food and merchandise and a chance for people to ask us about what we do. In the past we have given out exam/stress packs, bake sales, held crafts, face paint, and stress relief workshops. We also have our mascot Nelly the elephant which you may sometimes see about campus giving out free hugs.

How can students get involved?

We plan to do training sessions every term for people who want to become call-takers with us, which we require a minimum of two night shifts per term. This is a voluntary position and we don’t ask for previous experience, only that you complete training. Applications for training and dates for the next block will be released next term.
Alternatively, we also have a publicity team which is open for applications all year, (you can find the form for this on our website, nightline.lusu.co.uk) so there are lots of ways to get involved. It may be cliché but volunteering is such an eye-opening and rewarding experience, which definitely enhances the uni experience so if these roles interest you, please feel free to apply.

What’s your favourite aspect of Nightline?

I think it’s just something really great to be part of, whether it’s as part of the publicity team or as a call-taker. It’s such a welcoming service and I love how enthusiastic everyone is about their volunteering. I think this just shows how passionate people are about the service and the work they’re doing.

How does Nightline help students?

Students can call us about literally anything, whether it be a problem that they have or just someone to talk to in the night. Nightline is such a vital service for people simply because they know that we’re here. The great thing and the very essence of Nightline is that we can offer someone to talk to, maybe, even if students have a problem or not, and they don’t have anyone close that they feel like they can tell.

What are your plans for the future of Lancaster University’s Nightline?

We hope to make Nightline much more prevalent on campus this year, increasing its presence. We are going to be designing our ‘stress pack’ soon, running new activities and doing another stall in Alexander Square. Please come and talk to us if you have any questions about what we do or you can email us at lancasternightline@gmail.com if you want to get involved.

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