Niteline recruits more volunteers to cope with increase in calls

By Chloe O’Sullivan

Niteline, the confidential and anonymous listening service for students of DCU and other colleges, experienced such an increase in the number of calls last semester that it had to recruit a second wave of volunteers to cope with the increased demand.

Due to the confidential nature of Niteline, the service cannot confirm an exact figure for the increase in calls. But a rep for the mental health hotline confirmed to The College View that it had received “an increase in calls over the last semester. We cater for any type of issue, big or small.”

SU Welfare Officer Collie Oliver said that there could be a number of reasons why the volume of calls may have increased.

“It may suggest an increase in mental health pressures in the student body in semester one leading up to the Christmas period but it could also suggest an improvement in the reach of the service throughout the student population as a result of increased promotion and awareness of the Niteline service,” said Collie.

Some of the issues which students contact Niteline about include academic concerns, addiction, body image issues, loneliness, rape and abuse, relationships, and family issues.

Niteline is a student-run initiative that aims to look after the mental health of students at DCU, Trinity, UCD, RCSI, and NCAD. The service is available every day expect Wednesdays between 9pm and 2.30am.

“Niteline is a non-directive call line, we don’t give advice. We try to help callers reach their own conclusions,” said the rep.

The service always wants people to get involved, especially as the volume of calls increases. Recruitment happens at the start of each academic year and volunteers are sourced from the student body.

All volunteers must keep their involvement with the service confidential, even from family and friends.

“One of the main things is that a Niteline volunteer can’t put it on their CV so they do it out of the goodness of their hearts,” said the rep. She stressed that for the volunteers, working for Niteline is a deeply personal commitment.

Training is based on the Samaritans model. Volunteers go through an intensive eight week training process before they can answer the phone to a caller, in order to ensure that no volunteer is unprepared for the calls they might receive.

The Niteline rep recommends that anyone who wants to get involved but does not think they could be a listener should instead get involved in the publicity side of the initiative.

Niteline’s key short term goal is to get its E-listening service up and running. The rep said that it would have the same basis as the phone service, but that some callers might feel more comfortable using an internet-based service.

“The most important thing is that people on the other end of the phone are students. The students understand every issue as they are in college themselves,” said the rep.

Niteline is funded by the Students’ Union of each participating university. The SU pays a subscription at the start of each year and this fund goes towards making the calls to Niteline free to all students.

At a Class Rep Council meeting last semester it was suggested that a decision should be taken “to take a more active role and demand preconditions to make them more open, to make the administrators more accessible and known, [and to ensure]that the Welfare officers be pulled into either the administrative team or that they have monthly meetings.”

“Transparency has been improved this year with Niteline through ongoing communication with the DCU Niteline rep and DCUSU is happy with the progress of the service on campus in the first semester,” said Oliver, who reiterated the SU’s support for the initiative.

“The SU is fully behind the Niteline support service and believes non – judgmental, non- directive peer to peer support is one of the best ways to support students who are in need,” he said.

“In semester two we will continue the push to find Niteline volunteers to help in the struggle to protect student mental health in the face of ongoing financial strain,” he said.

Contact Niteline on 1800 793 793 or visit



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.