About us

With what attitude do we approach the listener?

We are a listening phone service, which means that we have an open ear for all your concerns - may they seem big or small to you. If you are ready to look for suitable solutions for yourself, we will be happy to support you.

We are:

- Voluntary

You don't have to tell us anything you don't want to.

We work for Nightline on a voluntary basis.

- Confidential

What you discuss with us stays within the Nightline.

- Anonymous

We don't know who you are and you don't know who we are.

That's how we all protect ourselves.

- Non-judgmental

We do not judge you and stand by you in whatever situation you may be in.

We take you seriously, even if your problem may seem small.

- Non-Directive

You get to decide what you want to talk to us about, we provide the space.

- Non-advisory

You are welcome to make your own decisions and we will try to support you.

But we also have some boundaries:

In addition to the above principles, we have some boundaries:

We do not discuss sexual practices in detail, we do not tolerate insults or aggression against us, we do not respond to requests to say something specific, and we do not allow guilt to be brought out in us.

In addition, of course, there are the personal boundaries of the individual telephonist. If these limits are not respected, we reserve the right to hang up.

And where do we come from?

The idea of Nightline was launched in May 1970 when Prof. Geoffrey Hosking and Rev. Malcolm France became aware of the high levels of stress, anxiety and suicide among students at the University of Essex. They felt that these problems were exacerbated by the fact that students had no one to talk to. Prof. Hosking, a lecturer at the university and a member of the Colchester Samaritans, and Rev. France, a university chaplain and former Samaritans director, formed a group of students to offer emotional support to their fellow students by telephone. The very first Nightline shift was held on May 7, 1970, in a disused hut on the edge of the university campus.

In the years that followed, numerous Nightlines were established across the country to reduce the number of students who died by suicide and to provide support when other services were closed. In 2006, the Nightline Association was established, a non-profit organization tasked with providing centralized support to Nightlines and facilitating collaboration between them. By bringing together volunteers from across the UK and Ireland, the organization is able to provide the expertise needed to support the many Nightlines there.

The first Nightline in Germany was founded in 1994 in Heidelberg, where the German pendant to the Nightline Association can also be found. In Germany, the various Nightlines are now widely represented, and there is also a Nightline in Innsbruck, in Zurich and several in France.

Nightline Leipzig was founded in 2011 by a medical student and has ever since had a receptive ear for students, now even via chat.

Many of the basic principles of conversation with us come from the ideas of Carl Rogers (1902-1978).

He had a humanistic view of people, according to which all persons strive for growth and self-development.

For him, problems arose from conflict between socially developed self-concepts and personal needs. Thus, to him, the goal is a reduction of this incongruence.

He used his ideas for psychotherapies and achieved great success with them. We continue to use them and have adapted them a bit for our purposes (we don't offer therapy in that sense). We have, for example, the above-mentioned principle of non-directivity, which is very important to Carl Rogers as well as to us, since we are much more likely to perceive you as a person than if we push you in one direction. Although our telephone operators have not been professionally trained for years, we have learned a lot (e.g. in the training, see 'Help out' in the navigation bar above), do our best and are always happy when we can help!