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Text based and instant messaging active listening support services

Learn more about the ways you can get help through text based and instant messaging services


Written by Megan Stonecipher and posted in news


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More and more people are turning to text based and instant messaging active listening support services instead of calling phone helplines. Some young people find it easier to discuss and disclose their feelings over texts and instant messages instead of talking to someone over the phone.  It makes sense given so many of us today favour texting and instant messaging with our friends and family rather than talking on the phone. Fortunately there are several text based and instant messaging active listening support services available to us in Ireland. Below you can find a list of the resources and services that these organisations have to offer.

Please note that you do not have to be depressed or suicidal to talk to the services listed below, they are available to talk about other things that may be worrying you or causing stress. Also note that all services listed below are free, confidential, secure and staffed by trained volunteers.  

Samaritans text line

  • Samaritans currently offers support through SMS text messages, but are advertising their number in a limited way as of right now because they want to ensure that they have enough volunteers to talk to people who need help.
  • If you email them at jo@samaritans.org, they should be able to assist you and possibly give you the phone number for support via SMS text messages.
  • They are also working on adding an online chatting service as well, which should be made available in the near future.  
  • Learn more about the services offered at Samaritans here.

Childline instant messaging service

  • Childline offers a instant messaging service called 1-2-1 counselling.
  • It allows you to talk with a counsellor about anything and receive support or help with whatever is worrying you at the moment.
  • Whatever is said on the instant messaging service is confidential - so it will stay between you and Childline.
  • Childline instant messaging service is available 24/7.
  • Learn more about their service and find their chatroom here.

Drugs.ie instant messaging service

  • Drugs.ie runs a confidential instant messaging service, your identity will not be made known to the staff member who is assisting you.
  • Drugs.ie instant messaging service is there to give you support, information, guidance and referrals for drug, alcohol, and/or HIV/sexual health questions or concerns.
  • Learn more about their service and find the link to their live chat on the right hand side of this page here.

NiteLine instant messaging service

  • NiteLine is another great instant messaging service which is run by students for students.  
  • They are associated with the following colleges: ITT, ITB, MU, NCAD, RCSI, and TCD.
  • Their instant messaging service is open from 9:00pm-2:30am every night of term.
  • Niteline is confidential in the sense that the only person who can see your conversation is the NiteLine volunteer that you are chatting with.
  • Note that all NightLine volunteers are extensively trained.
  • Learn more about NiteLine here.

LGBT helpline instant messaging service

  • LGBT helpline is a non-judgemental service set up in order to listen to whatever you may have on your mind at the moment.
  • LGBT helpline chat service is available 7 days a week, from 6:30pm to 9:30pm Monday through Thursday, from 4pm to 9pm Fridays, and from 4pm to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.  
  • Learn more about LGBT helpline and find their chat service here.

Gay Switchboard instant messaging service

  • You are free to talk about anything with Gay Switchboard.
  • Typically some of their normal conversations include topics like, coming out, gender identity, family issues, relationship issues, safe sex, bullying, and many more.  
  • Gay Switchboard is available to help via their instant messaging service 7 days a week, Monday through Friday from 6:30pm-9:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 2:00pm-4:00pm.  
  • You can find more information and their chat service here.
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Published June 21st, 2017
Last updated July 4th, 2017
Tags mental health wellbeing online
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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