Concordia Students’ Nightline set to reopen this week

The Concordia Students’ Nightline is set to resume service this Thursday, Jan. 9, after the winter holidays.

The Concordia-based active listening phone service was founded in 2017 by Concordia alumna Jade Se. The student-run nightline is completely anonymous and is open to anyone who calls.

“We’re very excited to reopen and hear about students’ winter breaks, as well as hear from our non-student callers,” said Camille Zolopa, President of the Nightline. “As an organization, we really aim to promote self-care and consideration for our volunteer corps as much as for our callers, so I think it’s super important to take breaks.”

According to Zolopa, some calls can be emotionally heavy, so it was necessary for volunteers to take some time off.

“Our approach is quite specific, in that we validate and actively listen to callers,” said Zolopa. “We don’t offer our opinions or advice; we think of ourselves more as an auditory journal for people. And perhaps most importantly, we’re open when a lot of services are closed, from 6:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m.”

Callers tend to feel more comfortable disclosing information with the students, said Zolopa, likely because they are considered peers.

“The volunteer active listeners are totally non-judgmental, and will keep any information that’s shared in the call confidential,” said Valentin Garriga, VP external of the non-profit organization. “It creates a space that can feel safe to share anything that you may want to talk about.”

Garriga said having this alternative is important because some students may not benefit from mental health services offered by the university, or may feel uncomfortable with meeting someone in person.

With this extra layer of anonymity, students don’t need to go through triage — a process where they speak with a general mental health practitioner or nurse to discuss the general themes they want to resolve with therapy — like they would need to through Concordia’s Counselling and Psychological Services. Through the Nightline, they can just call and talk.

“They can have the conversation that they want to have, without having to talk about things they don’t want to talk about,” said Garriga.

Although this alternative mental health service does not stand in for professional help, Garriga said the student listeners are thoroughly trained by senior volunteers.

“We will deal with a large variety of possible scenarios, and volunteers are trained on how to handle a number of subjects, especially those you might know as ‘tough’ topics, [like] sexual assault, violence, gender identity, or sexuality,” said Garriga. “Things that people have a really tough time talking about. We want to make sure people are ready to listen and help accordingly.”

According to Garriga, the training happens in person, and is quite a long-time commitment.

“While we are training extensively, we are also providing tons of support for new volunteers, as it could be emotionally draining and physically tiring,” said Garriga.

With the new semester, the Nightline will be training a new cohort of volunteer listeners, which means things will get a bit hectic the first couple of weeks of the semester.

“During the first week of each semester, experienced volunteers will be running training for the new recruits,” said Zolopa. “Therefore, we need returning volunteers who are not involved in training to cover more shifts during the first week back in service.”

With time and more manpower, Zolopa explained that a long-term goal of the Nightline is to increase their support system.

“Our long term goal is to be open every night of the week; once we have the volunteer corps to support that service expansion, we’ll be looking into new projects like offering a text/chat line,” said Zolopa.

Concordia’s Students’ Nightline  will be open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 6:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. at (514) 848-7787.


Graphic by @sundaeghost

Student Life

Slice of Life: Late night chats

Try anonymously calling Concordia’s Student Nightline next time you need some support

Concordia’s newest service offers confidential, anonymous and non-judgemental advice to any students in need of a listening ear.

The Concordia Students’ Nightline was founded by Jade Se in October 2017. Since Sept. 13, it has been run by student volunteers who hope to help and advise any student that may need it.

“Although Concordia has counselling services that offer up to ten free sessions,” said VP External and Security Margaréta Pintér. “Our founder believed that there was not yet a service like ours at Concordia, and thought it was a good initiative to bring it here and adapt it to the students’s needs,” said Pintér. The idea was based off a similar service offered by McGill, which Se became aware of as a former student.

As of now, the non-profit organization’s team of volunteers remains relatively small. The organization plans to recruit new members throughout this month and hopes to expand their operating hours along with this. Pintér stressed that while all calls are treated seriously, not all of them need to be of a serious nature—students are free to phone in regarding anything, even if it’s just to talk. “It’s free for anyone, and if you have something to talk about, our volunteers pick up every single call. Whether you’re bored, lost, or scared for any reason, you can give us a call,” she said.

With midterms in full swing and finals almost around the corner, it’s nice to know Concordia Students’ Nightline is there to lift some stress off your shoulders—one call at a time.

The Nightline currently operates from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and can be contacted at 514-437-9797.

Feature graphic by @spooky_soda.

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