A new look at Nightline

McGill’s student hotline provides services beyond crisis management

According to their official tagline, McGill Nightline is a confidential, anonymous and non-judgmental listening, information, and referral service. But to many McGill students, this service is either unknown or seemingly useless.

McGill Nightline, which is supported by student fees and staffed entirely by students, is often perceived exclusively as a crisis hotline, according to Publicity Coordinator Jamie Bucklandfoster. Yet crisis help is only a small portion of the services that Nightline provides. The individuals who answer Nightline’s phones are trained in crisis management, but less serious, information-seeking calls make up an equal portion of Nightline’s services.

“Students can call us anytime that we’re open and ask us anything – [random trivia] or where they can get a referral to go to a doctor,” Bucklandfoster said.

While Bucklandfoster wants students to understand the purpose of the Nightline before discounting its usefulness, some at McGill are already familiar with the extra-crisis services Nightline has to offer.

“I called [Nightline] while driving with three friends through Nebraska,” said Paul Gross, U3 Anthropology. “They got me directions from where I was on the freeway and stayed on the phone with me until I got to the Goodwill in Lincoln. I felt like they were on the road trip with me.”

Nightline is a confidential service, meant to make the phone line a resource that all students can feel comfortable using. Those who choose to access the nightline can ask and reveal anything without a fear of judgment on the other end. Furthermore, the nightline’s staff remains intentionally anonymous.

“Just call us once,” says Bucklandfoster. “It’s going be a friendly voice [on the other end] whose primary objective is to help you in any way they possibly can.”

McGill Nightline is open from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., seven days a week.