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All Night, All Term, All Ears.

We are a student-run listening service open every night of term between 9pm and 7am. You can find our number on the back of your Campus Card, on your DUO homepage, or you can contact us through Instant Messenger on our website. All Durham University students are welcome to contact us, whether you are an undergrad, postgrad, exchange, part-time, or a year-abroad student. Please check our Facebook for the latest information about our opening hours.

Friends, relationships, stress, how your day has been, difficult times, late night thoughts, takeaway & taxi numbers or any other bits of info - you can contact us about anything, even for a chat.

If you're interested in volunteering with Nightline or attending our Training Weekend to learn about our active-listening skills, sign up here to our mailing list to get the latest sign up information.

* We don't currently offer drop-ins or supplies.

About Us

Following the opening of National Nightline in 1970, three Durham University students who volunteered at Durham Samaritans took the initiative to set up Durham University Nightline in 1973. They felt that some students may feel reluctant to approach people outside of the university community and would find it easier and more relatable to speak to another student within the university community. Durham University Nightline is a member of the National Association of Nightlines and is accredited for following the organisation's good practice guidelines.

Since 1973, we have been guided by the same five principles:

Confidentiality: Every conversation is confidential and remains between the caller and the volunteer. No records are kept and no information is shared. We respect every caller's privacy.

Anonymity: The identity of caller and volunteers are all kept anonymous (except for our three public faces). Calls are not recorded or traced and all IM conversations are deleted after the chat window is closed.

Non-directive / Non-advisory: We are a listening service and do not offer any advice. We will explore your situation with you and respect your right to make your own decisions.

Non-judgmental: We are a listening service who will not exclude or judge you for any opinions, situation, actions, or beliefs held or expressed.

Non-aligned: We are an independent and autonomous organisation with no religious, cultural, or political affiliations. We respect everyone's beliefs and thoughts.


All our volunteers are Durham University students. To become a volunteer no previous experience is necessary. You must first attend one of our training weekends and then you can choose to go for a series of interviews. A strong understanding of spoken English is required. Volunteering commitment is flexible on top of the minimum commitment requirement. Contact us at nightline@durham.ac.uk for more information about volunteering.

Training Weekend

All Durham University students are invited to attend our training weekends. Regardless of whether you're considering volunteering for Nightline, training for welfare, or simply just interested in improving your listening skills, we encourage you to attend the weekend. There is a training weekend each term, held in October, February, and June. The weekend will consist of a series of talks given by experts in their field, such as depression, anxiety, suicide, loss and bereavement, and identity. These talks are accompanied by group workshops where we use role-plays to practice listening skills. Both Durham and Queens students are welcomed.

Look out for a sign-up email next term about our next training weekend which will be held on 5th & 6th November 2016. Details of how to sign-up will be given below nearer the time. To join our mailing list, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

You'll be speaking to another Durham University student. All Nightline volunteers undergo extensive and regular training and have been selected for their ability to provide non-judgemental and non-advisory listening.

Our service is completely confidential, so anything you say stays between you and the volunteer you've spoken to. If you feel hesitant to use our phone service, our online messaging service is also available. There is no way that a volunteer would be able to recognise you using this.

While over 300 people attend our training every year, this does not qualify them to volunteer for Nightline as they must also be successful at interview. On average only 40 students volunteer for Nightline.

If in the unlikely event that you recognise a volunteer you are more than welcome to ask to speak to the other volunteer. We always have two volunteers available throughout the night, and additionally, two reserve volunteers.

Whilst we recognise the value of advice there are various reasons why we do not give it. Typically you'd expect to receive advice if you went to a friend or family member to discuss an issue, and we provide something fundamentally different:

We believe that giving advice to a caller is difficult as we are neither health professionals nor are we aware of the entire context of each individual caller's personal situation.

Receiving advice can also take the power and control away from a caller. Often the 'answer' (if there is one!) isn't obvious, or it might suddenly become clear days later. We hope that by allowing callers to chat through anything they're feeling, without judgements or assumptions being placed on them, thoughts might become a bit clearer.

If you are looking solely for advice you may find that Nightline, as with many other welfare services, is not for you. Of course though, we do have information we can provide you with if you'd like.

Of course. We aim to provide a confidential, non-directive, non-advisory, and non-judgmental listening service for all callers. You can talk to our volunteers about anything you may be feeling.

If a volunteer believes that a caller has attempted to end their life, we will ask them if they would like an ambulance. If the caller expresses explicit wishes for an ambulance to be called on their behalf, the Nightline volunteer would ask for relevant details and pass those onto the emergency services, staying with the caller for as long as they wish.

We hope to provide a confidential space in which callers can discuss anything they wish without fear of action being taken. Volunteers will always respect the caller's wishes and we want callers to be free from the concern that a volunteer would be influencing them in any way.

Nightline volunteers regularly receive training from mental health professionals on how best to respond to a caller who is feeling suicidal. A volunteer will always ask a caller who has taken suicidal action whether they would like to receive an ambulance.

Suicidal feelings vary hugely from person to person, but they can be felt in response to fears or expectations about the future, and/or based on past experiences.

Throughout all calls of any nature, volunteers will listen to a caller and explore their feelings, expectations, worries, and experiences that the caller wishes to. We believe that it is important for a suicidal caller to be given that same opportunity to discuss this with someone, and that through the comfort of a listening-ear there may be a chance that the caller may feel less alone.

We respect the choices of every caller and provide unconditional support and listening. As such, we would never actively attempt to persuade a caller not to attempt suicide, as this implies that we understand their situation better than them and believe that what they are feeling is 'wrong'.

For this reason we would also not break confidentiality to divulge a caller's personal details to the emergency services without their consent. Our policy on suicide is in line with the Suicide Act of 1961 and meets industry standards of practice.

We aim to provide an environment in which any caller may feel able to talk freely without fear of personal information being passed on. However, the protection of vulnerable children overrides this principle.

Where a volunteer confidently believes that a caller has revealed information that suggests a child (an individual under the age of 18) is at future risk of significant harm or exploitation (physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect) by another person, it is Nightline's policy to report this to the police. Consent shall not be required from the caller in this instance.

We would never record any personal or identifying details of a caller. However, we do keep very limited contact statistics, which include the number of times we have been contacted in any given night, the length and time of a call and a one word description of the nature of the call such as "information" or "friendships". We record these details to ensure that volunteers receive adequate training.

We provide both a confidential listening service as well as an information service. Volunteers have information on an array of things, including sexual or mental health, taxi numbers, contact details for college officers and takeaway numbers, amongst others. We attempt to keep this information as relevant and up-to-date as possible.

Yes. Anyone wishing to submit a complaint should email our Director at nightline@durham.ac.uk and can expect a reply within 28 days. If you are unhappy with the way that the complaint has been handled, please contact Emma Hall-Craggs, Head of Student Volunteer and Outreach at Experience Durham (emma.hall-craggs@durham.ac.uk).

Our volunteers will do their best, whatever your level of English. Do not be afraid to take your time, or to use instant messaging if you feel more confident writing. If you feel you would like to speak to someone in another language, you can find some numbers below. Please note though that we hold no affiliation with the organisations listed below. Opening times vary, so we recommend you visit their websites before calling.

0207 287 5493

Nightline Dresden

Lifeline Shanghai
0216 279 8990

S.O.S Amitié
0140 091 522

Teléfono de la Esperanza

If the language you wish to communicate in is not listed here, please contact nightline@durham.ac.uk to ask for the helpline numbers which operate in your chosen language.

Support Us

Durham University Nightline relies on financial support provided by Durham University, G M Morrision charitable trust, donations, and fundraising. We are additionally supported by the university by provision of our premises, phone line, and the counselling service who provide support to our volunteers. Our annual running costs are around £4000, but we are restricted in our capacity to publicise and improve understanding of the service - a crucial element which we are trying to develop. Donations and fundraising are important sources of income to facilitate this, and any way in which you can support us is hugely appreciated.


If you wish to donate to Durham University Nightline, then please email us at: nightline@durham.ac.uk.


We run various fundraisers throughout the year and also put out collection tins during our publicity campaigns. For details of any of these events, please like Durham University Nightline on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter to stay updated.