Student helpline’s 40th anniversary

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A STUDENT helpline at Sheffield University is celebrating 40 years of supporting young people - making it one of the oldest schemes of its kind in the country.

Nightline, run for students by student volunteers, is an anonymous phone and email service offering an ear to listen and provide emotional support, as well as information, from 8pm until 8am.

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

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.

Spokeswoman Lydia Akinola said: “We feel 40 years’ continuity of a student-run service to support other students is a great achievement. By ensuring access to support and information throughout the night, when other services are closed, university and union information is always just a phone call away.

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

“Our e-listening service is a major change in how people can access the service and allows us to reach more people who would not otherwise get in contact.”