Niteline, a listening and support service for students in several Irish institutions, is happy with the UCD uptake of the service following its return to campus. Aisling Curtis, Niteline Co-ordinator, told the Tribune there has been a ‘hugely positive response to Niteline since returning to UCD, and both staff and students have been incredibly supportive thus far.’
She explained how they have ‘already set up Friends of Niteline in UCD, which consists of UCD students volunteering as publicity volunteers for Niteline.’ Curtis noted that while ‘these students are not trained to take calls, but rather organise awareness-raising events, coming up with innovative ways to work with groups in UCD to promote positive mental health and student support.’ The UCD Friends of Niteline group have been ‘fantastic so far’ and are organising an awareness event for April 5th.
Curtis revealed that approximately 96% of callers do not disclose their college. Niteline’s anonymity policies ‘discourage the disclosure of that information.’ She noted that ‘our call numbers are high, indicating that students are availing of the service in large numbers.’
Niteline’s association fee was originally paid by UCD Student’s Union (UCDSU). The Union opted to end the partnership in August 2014 and use the money to promote other welfare projects. The sides began to discuss a deal last summer following meetings between Curtis and Eoghan Mac Domhnaill, UCDSU Welfare Officer, before agreeing on a new partnership this January.
Its return is on a six-month basis, with the potential to be renewed in the summer. This time, the university itself is funding the deal. Dominic O’Keefe, Director of Student Services described it as ‘an out of hours support that complements our existing supports such as our Counselling, Psychiatry, Doctor, Chaplain and Student Advisers.’ Given the ongoing delays and problems with accessing student support services in UCD, its return has been welcomed and promoted by all parties.
Niteline is open every night during term time from 9pm – 2.30am. They operate a free phone service on 1800 7937 93, and a free messaging service on Niteline.ie
Cian Carton – Editor