FAQ

Do I have to be a student to volunteer?

Our volunteers are all students registered at the University of Aberdeen. As the service is aimed for students, we find that having students as volunteers, makes us more aware of the difficulties that students face while studying at the university.

Are you the same as Samaritans?

Nightline provides a similar service to Samaritans, however we do differ in ways. Like Samaritans, we offer support in a non-advisory, non-directive, and non-judgemental manner.  However, we are not 24/7 like Samaritans, and only run from 8pm until 8am during a term time. We are fully trained in a diverse range of student related challenges which you could face whilst at university.  There is nothing too big or too small to talk to us about.

Why are you only open at night?

We are open while no other university services are  available. We are aware that it can be difficult to find other support networks during the evenings, so are aiming to provide a confidential and anonymous space for those seeking support.

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 pizza delivery number. We sometimes receive calls about depression or suicide, but this is by no means our only type of call.  You don’t have to be experiencing either of these things in order to contact Nightline.

Can I talk to you about anything?

While we we are a listening service and are available to listen to you talk about anything, no matter how big or small you feel it is, we also have policy in place to protect our volunteers from calls that are manipulative, abusive, or excessively detailed. Volunteers will give a warning to the caller if they feel they are abusing the service, but if the caller continues to act in this way the call will be terminated. Under no circumstance will we accept calls in which the caller is masturbating.

My English is not very good, how can I use the service?

We understand that there is a multitude of Cultures in Aberdeen, and English may not necessarily be a caller’s first language. Because of this, we run an Instant Messaging service as some people find it easier to write down how they are feeling, and take their time over their words. Instant messaging allows callers to also use a translator, enabling them to receive the same help without the difficulties of speech.

Will you ever share my personal information with anyone else?

Confidentiality is one of our core values, which means that we are dedicated to keeping any information you share with us private. Our aim is that all of our callers feel comfortable talking to us about anything that’s on their minds. Nobody outside of Aberdeen Students’ 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 Aberdeen Students’ Nightline. This includes the police, social services, the university and the students association.

We do keep some statistical information that we use to help improve the quality of our service. This includes some basic details about the call, the number of 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 explicitly ask us to pass on your details to the emergency services, 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.

Who can hear or see what I am saying when I contact Nightline?

Your call or message will be taken by one volunteer who dedicates their full attention to listening to you. However, our volunteers never go on shift alone and they support each other throughout the night. This means that another volunteer in the room may overhear part of a telephone conversation, may help their partner look up relevant information, or may be giving input into an IM conversation. For the most part, the conversation you have will stay between you and the volunteer who takes your call.

Is the Nightline number a free-phone number?

The Nightline number is a standard landline contact number, meaning you are charged for calls. We provide an Instant Messaging service which is free, provided you have access to internet.

How do I make a complaint?

Please see feedback tab for more information.