More calls being made to helpline for students

A STUDENT helpline which is celebrating its 40th anniversary said yesterday that it had seen a rising trend in the number of calls being taken by its volunteers.

Sheffield University’s Nightline is an anonymous phone and email service offering an ear to listen, emotional support, as well as information, from 8pm until 8am.

During the last 40 years, organisers believe that more than 750 student volunteers have received over 50,000 phone calls.

They said services like Nightline have been proven to help reduce anxiety and improve student mental health as well as acting as a first port of call for many seeking help.

Lydia Akinola, who helps run the university’s Nightline service, said: “We feel 40 years’ continuity of a student-run service to support other students is a great achievement.

“We have seen a rising trend in the volume of calls and have taken on more volunteers as time has gone on to facilitate this.

“As more and more people have access to mobile phones, it becomes easier for them to get in contact, rather than having to rely on a shared phone or pay phone where there is the possibility of being overheard.

“The university’s approach is a down-to earth, innovative, friendly and community based ‘straight forward’ approach. By being open 8pm to 8am every night during term time we are available when other services may be closed.”

Ms Akinola revealed that it was thought that Sheffield’s service was one of the longest-established in the country.